hummingbird tongue fungal infection

In case you need further motivation to keep your hummingbird feeders clean, here is a photo of a male Anna’s Hummingbird with a swollen tongue. The condition is caused by a fungal infection, usually acquired at hummingbird feeders. The condition is often, if not always, fatal.


If you feed hummingbirds, please use a mixture of one part WHITE sugar to four parts water, and clean the feeder at least once a week in cool weather, more often when temperatures are warmer. Using any other ingredients, or allowing the nectar to spoil, can be deadly.

This post has received a lot of comments over the years, mostly questions about veterinary care of individual birds and other topics that I am not qualified to answer. If you are a veterinarian or wildlife rehabber, and have insight or advice regarding this condition, please leave a comment. If you are seeking advice about this condition, please contact a vet or a wildlife rehabilitation center.

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Posted on May 11, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Fungal infections can be treated by a wildlife veterinarian or rehabilitator with anti-fungal medications and any birds suffering from this should be caught and to a wildlife rehabilitator. They are unlikely to recover from this without medication and getting them help will also prevent further spread of infection from the individual to others! Most small animal vets will not be prepared to care for hummingbirds by the way, but may be able to direct you to a rehabilitator in your area. Whether the bird will respond to treatment or not will depend on a lot of things, but without intervention there is little hope for recovery once the tongue is sticking out. It is not wise to add anything to the feeder. Keeping feeders clean is the best thing you can do for prevention. (I am a licensed wildlife rehabilitator and I specialize in hummingbirds and songbirds.)

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