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Submitted By

Lisa Anderson

Las Vegas, NV, USA


Second sighting of a Robin with unusually colored legs (white vs. brown) which, on close inspection, appear to be covered in scale-like growths. Any ideas what might be the cause of this condition? Our birdbath was recently cleaned and the water is cycled daily.
Also, a male robin has been aggressively displacing other birds, some larger than him, at the birdbath.
Our area has been in a drought for many years but it is particularly severe this year as we have had no rain for 178 days. The lack of moisture may explain the birds’ behavior at the birdbath, but could it also explain the scaly legs? Please comment if you have any ideas!



White Scales On Legs Of American Robin

White scales cover both legs and feet

12 replies on “White Scales on Legs of American Robin”

Dave M says:

I noticed this today while on a walk in Northern NJ. Robin had same scale. I’d be curios to know what it is as well.

Amanda says:

The leg ailment in the photo is caused by Scaly Mites. The mites are almost microscopic insects that burrow into the bird’s legs. The ‘growths’/‘fungus’ on the legs are the leg reacting/fighting off/recovering from the mites.

I’m not a biologist or an entomologist. I am a bird bander and I’ve seen this in many, many American Robins In the last three years. I’m
Just sharing what I’ve learned in recent years.

Jude says:

An American Robin came to our bird bath this morning and I notice his legs are scaly as is mentioned here. Never have seen this before and we have many robins spring and summer every year. So far he’s the only one in our yard like this. Poor bird.

Jude says:

Northeast NJ

John Jorgenson says:

Any more info in the 9 months after your post. Yours was the only one with any real info.
Is it spreading, is it dangerous or fatal to them?
I appreciate anything you can add.
I live in Oregon and have not seen it so far.

Ranee Tuscano says:

I have seen the same Robin in our yard twice in the past two weeks. He has those same white legs and feet. Wonder where to find more information? May 25, 2023 Phoenix AZ

Ranee Tuscano says:

Amanda, do you know if it’s fatal or what can be done to help them?

Heidi Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hello Ranee, thanks for reaching out. Only veterinarians or federally licensed wildlife rehabilitators can legally treat wild birds. If you see a bird that appears to be compromised in some way, perhaps due to sickness or injury, do not try to care for the bird yourself. It is illegal for you to possess most wild birds unless you are under the direction of someone licensed for their care.

Ranee Tuscano says:

I was just wondering how this affects them. Can they live with it, will it be fatal, is it painful? Just saw the same one this morning. Robins are rare in Phoenix but every summer there will be one lone Robin in my yard even during 110 degree weather. Sometimes there are 2or 3, but mostly just one. Rest assured that I had no thoughts of doing anything about it. Just looking for information.

Karen Hartley says:

Following. Just saw Robin as described here. First time I’ve seen one with this condition. It was behaving normally in the usual Robin way in its movements (how can you not just smile while watching Robins scurry about?), and seemed to be happily seeking out insects during a rainstorm. Newton, MA (suburb just outside of Boston).

Connie arzadon says:

Is it infectious to other birds who eat out of the same birdfeeder ?

Steve says:

I have a Sweet social Robin that has this scale on its right leg. It now when standing pulls up and tucks in the leg. It has always been here for 3 years, it knows me and flys up close every morning. Wonder if this scale is causing pain. Not a darn thing I can do though.

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