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 this post with your friends





Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

avatar
wpDiscuz

Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days

  1. POLL: Should hunting with hounds be banned? – [7336 Views]
  2. POLL: Should the trophy hunting of bears and wolves be banned? – [3201 Views]
  3. POLL: Should the slaughter of badgers in the UK be finally stopped? – [2962 Views]
  4. POLL: Should trophy hunting in Kyrgystan be banned? – [1721 Views]
  5. POLL: Should SeaWorld be closed down? – [1520 Views]
  6. POLL: Should Japan be sanctioned for continuing to slaughter whales? – [1117 Views]
  7. POLL: Should Yellowstone’s Iconic Grizzly Bears be Stripped of Federal Protection? – [1021 Views]
  8. POLL: Should roadside zoos be closed down? – [976 Views]
  9. POLL: Should we prevent our cats from killing birds? – [813 Views]
  10. POLL: Should there be a tough crackdown on the trafficking of Pangolins? – [726 Views]

Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months

  1. Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [7893 Views]
  2. POLL: Should hunting with hounds be banned? – [7336 Views]
  3. POLL: Should foxes be culled to protect domestic pets? [3799 Views]
  4. POLL: Should the trophy hunting of bears and wolves be banned? – [3201 Views]
  5. POLL: Should the slaughter of badgers in the UK be finally stopped? – [2962 Views]
  6. POLL: Should the cruel sport of bullfighting be banned? [2873 Views]
  7. POLL: Should Canada ban the hunting of seals? [2667 Views]
  8. POLL: Should the Tories be allowed to bring back fox hunting? [2578 Views]
  9. POLL: Should wild elephants be sold to Chinese zoos? [2322 Views]
  10. POLL: Should Japan be sanctioned for slaughtering Minke whales? [2289 Views]