Deformed Godwit beak

To: <>
Subject: Deformed Godwit beak
From: "Steve Holliday" <>
Date: Thu, 7 Jan 2010 12:50:45 +1100

Hi Denis

Not a deformity – a flexible upper mandible is found in many waders. A message on Birding-Aus alerted me to this excellent webpage discussing this ability.

Anyone like to identify the other two wader species in the original photo?





From: Denis Wilson [
Sent: Wednesday, 6 January 2010 1:23 AM
To: COG bird discussions
Subject: [canberrabirds] Deformed Godwit beak


Dear COG list members.


Sorry that this is NOT a local issue, but can anyone explain what is happening with the bird featured in a North Queensland Birder's Blog?


The upper mandible is clearly bent upwards, away from the lower mandible.

How could it possibly probe into the mud, in the normal manner?


As they are migratory birds, I cannot imagine how this bird survived for the period of time required to travel around the Pacific Ocean, if it is a genetic deformity?


The author claims to have seen this several times, but does not document that claim.





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