Quantcast
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


Leave a Comment

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>



Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days

  1. POLL: Should the ban on South Africa’s horn trade be lifted? » [2060 Views]
  2. 120,000 dead: half of the world’s saiga die in less than a month » [1166 Views]
  3. Swifts migrate from Beijing to southern Africa without landing » [930 Views]
  4. Vicious murdering bully chosen as Britain’s national bird » [881 Views]
  5. Murder Most Foul in the Faroes » [838 Views]
  6. Butterfly wings inspire cosmetics and bomb detectors » [792 Views]
  7. Earth enters new extinction phase » [719 Views]
  8. Yellow-breasted bunting population collapses across Eurasia » [706 Views]
  9. Eastern Cougar extinct, no longer needs protection, says US conservation agency » [645 Views]
  10. Poll: Should stricter sonar controls be imposed on the US navy? » [645 Views]

Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months

  1. POLL: Should the trophy hunting of giraffes be banned? » [11989 Views]
  2. » POLL: Should the ban on fox hunting be relaxed in the UK? [10683 Views]
  3. POLL: Should the Faroe Islands’ whale slaughter be allowed to continue? » [7469 Views]
  4. POLL: Should bear hunting be banned in the US? » [4093 Views]
  5. Komodo and its Dragons » [3947 Views]
  6. POLL: Should lion canned hunting be banned in South Africa? » [3888 Views]
  7. Poll: Should hunting of black bears in Florida be allowed? » [3249 Views]
  8. POLL: Should the slaughter of wolves in British Columbia be banned? » [2987 Views]
  9. Petition: Stop Lion Canned Hunting in South Africa – Shocking Video » [2764 Views]
  10. POLL: Should the wolf hunting contest in Idaho be stopped? » [2717 Views]