Jan 232012
 

This unusual blackbird is attracting bird watchers to a Nottinghamshire country park. The bird is leucistic, which is a genetic mutation that prevents pigments from being deposited normally in its feathers.

All-White Blackbird Photographed by Notts County Council

It has been residing for the last four years in the woodland of Rufford Abbey Country Park. Each year, observers say, it has steadily shed its black feathers for white feathers.

  • Leucism is often confused with the rarer condition albinism, a genetic condition that prevents the production of melanin in the body; in leucism, these colouring chemicals are present in the body, but are not deposited in feathers

  • Some colours in birds’ plumage come from other pigments such as carotenoids, so birds can be albinistic and still have some colour

  • Leucistic birds may be completely white and still have melanin in their bodies; as for this blackbird, such animals will have dark eyes and white feathers

  • Albino birds and animals also have pink eyes, as the only colour in the eyes comes from the blood vessels behind the eyes

Park rangers took this picture of the blackbird – which is now completely white with no visible pigmented feathers – in the summer of 2011. Leucistic birds are often very vulnerable to predators, because of their bright white plumage. So the park’s managers are urging birdwatchers to keep an eye out for this unusual blackbird.

Site manager John Clegg said: “This bird has been steadily turning whiter over the years and last summer it was completely white. “It has become quite a character at the park in recent years. “It tends to appear in the warmer months and we have not seen it for a few months but hope it will return here soon.”

Most leucistic birds have some spots or patches of colouration in their feathers from other pigments, so this is a particularly unusual specimen.

This article was written and published by BBC Nature Features

Share on social media:

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

avatar
wpDiscuz

Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days

  1. POLL: Should the Tories be allowed to bring back fox hunting? [2435 Views]
  2. Trophy Hunter Gets Eaten by Crocodiles [1894 Views]
  3. Scientists Discover Rare and Endangered Cat in Borneo [973 Views]
  4. POLL: Should the inter-breeding of lions and tigers be banned? [875 Views]
  5. POLL: Should wild elephants be sold to Chinese zoos? [851 Views]
  6. POLL: Should Japan be sanctioned for exceeding its bluefin tuna quota? [838 Views]
  7. POLL: Should the illegal wildlife trade in slow lorises be stopped? [838 Views]
  8. POLL: Should the giraffe be listed as an endangered species? [727 Views]
  9. 10 of the Most Endangered Species on Earth [712 Views]
  10. Rare footage helps explain what Narwhals use their tusks for [703 Views]

Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months

  1. White Killer Whale Adult Spotted for First Time in Wild [42085 Views]
  2. POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farms? [16868 Views]
  3. Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [12291 Views]
  4. POLL: Should fur farming be banned in the European Union? [12119 Views]
  5. POLL: Should Congress disband Wildlife “Killing” Services? [11135 Views]
  6. POLL: Should driven grouse-shooting be banned? [8655 Views]
  7. POLL: Should grouse shooting on highland estates be banned? [8291 Views]
  8. POLL: Should black bears be killed for Royal Guards’ fur caps? [8074 Views]
  9. POLL: Should China’s dog meat festival be banned? [7437 Views]
  10. POLL: Should trophy and big game hunting be banned? [5382 Views]