Saturday, April 27, 2013

Leucistic Dark-eyed Junco

I recently received an email from Emily Fitzpatrick who had a unique bird to share with me. Take a look at this leucistic Dark-eyed Junco.

Emily tells me, "After years of regular backyard birdwatching, we have spotted our first case of Leucism!  This Junco was foraging with a number of other Juncos under the feeders in our yard, but they spooked much more quickly than this little guy (not a good tendency for a bird who already sticks out with atypical plumage)... it kept hopping around long after the other birds took to the bushes."

She added that the bird remained around at their home for only about an hour. One would guess that considering the date and the uniqueness of this individual, who surely would have been noticed earlier in the season, that it was a migrant individual who stopped by for a snack before continuing to the north the subsequent night. Remember that 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. This bird is probably very healthy and only looks different than all of the rest typically do.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Photo by Emily Fitzpatrick

No comments:

Post a Comment