Ruby-throated Hummingbird with a Deformed Bill
September 28th 2006 ~ SE Texas
Photography ~ Helen and John Baines
This immature male Ruby-throated Hummingbird has a very deformed bill, which makes feeding difficult, but he was able to use this type of feeder, as it has larger holes.  See below for photos of his technique.
This page was last updated on: February 22, 2010
Closer views showing the severity of the deformation of the bill.  His tongue is visible in the photo on the left, and when feeding, his tongue was also visible - see the additional photos below.  His plumage looked rather unkempt, as I imagine he would find it quite difficult to preen with a bill like this.
On the morning of Sept. 28th, I noticed a hummingbird with an odd shaped bill, at one of my feeders.  When I looked through my binoculars, I saw that he had a problem.  He was very aggressive and defended this feeder all day.  The next morning, I saw him only once, about 8 am, so I'm glad we took photos on the first day.  Five years ago, we also had a Ruby-throated Hummingbird with a deformed bill - he stayed for about 5 days.  Scroll down for more photos.
At first we thought he'd injured his bill, perhaps by flying into a window or something, but on closer observation, we think it must have grown like this from birth.
Defending his feeder
Enlargement to show bill from the front
Lapping up the sugar water spills with his tongue
His feeding technique
He sure was hungry!
This is another Ruby-throated Hummingbird with a deformed bill,  that I photographed  in September, 2001. See his own webpage here.
Last photograph at almost 7pm on Sept. 28th 06,
looking sleepy with an eye half shut. This photo was taken at 1/40 sec at F5.6, ISO 400. The light was almost gone, so it's not very sharp! .