Friday, September 28, 2012

Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk

Alyce Walker sent me the following record photos of a leucistic Red-tailed Hawk that she took this past February in New Hartford as she thought all of our readers may like to see this different look on our most common raptor.

Leucism is essentially a reduced pigmentation as normal colors still occur over much of the feathers. It is not the same condition as albinism, a mutation that prevents melanin from being produced at all. It is a rare condition in birds. At this time of year, we are all thinking about migrant raptors, counting them at hawk watches or watching them hunting at stopover sites. Keep in mind that throughout all of these masses there may be a rarity or an abnormality like the one above with an unusual genetic condition, a rare morph or form, or a vagrant.

Alyce is currently the Litchfield Audubon Society's featured photographer, and you can check out some more of her photos here. If anyone has a strange sighting or rare bird they'd like to share please email me at at any time. Thanks for the shots Alyce!

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Photos © Alyce Walker and not to be reproduced without explicit permission

1 comment:

  1. Hi there. Amazing photos, I had never heard of Leucism before. I live in Toronto, and recently, my wife, Jean, and I came upon an adult Red-tailed Hawk in Markham, Ontario. We have read that stalking a hawk is no easy task,that you have to sneak up on them when they are looking the other way. Well, this Hawk was only looking one way when it landed, and that was right at us! Fortunately, we had our camera with us and got some good pictures and video. Among the video footage a scene where the Red-tailed Hawk goes after a Great Blue Heron. We have posted them for anyone interested at: