Friday, April 17, 2009

A BIRD OF A DIFFERENT COLOR


Actually, the old expression goes, “That’s a horse of a different color” but I borrowed it for this post on leucistic birds. Leucism, also called partial albinism, can occur in any animal, including people, and it regularly found in many birds. Totally white leucistic animals can often be mistaken for albinos, but on closer inspection, leucistic creatures don’t have the diagnostic pink eyes and other pink body parts associated with true albinism. Most of the leucistic birds I’ve seen have had splotches and splatters of white, or colors that appear faded or washed out. Not too long ago I saw what I sure was a leucistic common grackle at my feeder, but wanted to see it again to be certain. My silo feeder has several seed ports in a vertical line, and I often see birds with white streaks or spots on their bodies from having been feeding at a lower port when the bird above it relieved itself! Weeks later, I saw the grackle again, still sporting the same arrangement of white – after many days of rain! And this time I was able to get a least a quick, blurry photo.

Here are a few other amazing photos of familiar leucistic birds (robin, common grackle, unidentified species of hummer) and one very un-camouflaged leucistic moose I found at Wikimedia Commons and Google images.



13 comments:

Sylvia K said...

Fascinating! Never thought of albino birds! Great shot and very interesting information as well. Thanks!

Kallen305 said...

Great photos of some unique looking birds. I have never seen on myself.

Quiet Paths said...

Really interesting Deb. I am glad to know that someone else ponders these things too. My Mom and I discussed just this subject as we watched a chickadee which was clearly leucistic visit her feeder for a couple years in a row. We haven't seen it for about a year now. Great post.

citosol said...

Oh! you know, I had a partial albino blackbird in my garden once...he kept visiting it for three years, then he disappeared...I guess he's dead. When I'll find the photo I took I'll send it to you!

Lin said...

wow new information I never even thought about it. Interesting!

bobbie said...

I wasn't aware that this is so wide-spread. Does stand to reason. These are interesting pictures.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

How interesting, Deborah. I don't think I've ever seen a leucistic bird...but now I'll be looking for them

PJ said...

I was going to say, if you took all of those photos you must be a leucism magnet. I've heard of this in birds but have only seen one or two photos. Very interesting as I'm a bird lover.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Good find ... and I did not know that. Nature never ceases with interesting surprises.

Rose said...

These are really neat--I thought how lucky you were to have seen them all and then I saw you had not...but still, that grackle is a great capture.

I have seen a white dove, and the other night we saw an almost all white skunk...and we did have an albino cat. My daughter raised it from about two days old. His blue eyes glowed red in the dark, instead of green.

Ruth said...

I have seen a leucistic Canada Goose locally. It even made our news as it stood out and was on the university grounds. Interesting post.

Kathiesbirds said...

It's amazing what nature can do with color or the lack of it! White is a very powerful color!

The Ridger, FCD said...

There was a white turkey vulture in my home town a few years back. picture here