Do you enjoy words that evoke great conversation and bolster your birding vocabulary? If so, we think you'll like this one - 'leucistic'. Leucism is a condition that affects the pigmentation of certain cells due to the absence of melanin, resulting in a white or washed-out appearance of the feathers – an example of this condition is modelled perfectly by our little friend above. The question is… what species is this? (Photo courtesy of Nature’s Home reader, Shirley Fisher).
Ever peered out the window and spotted a catalyst for confusion? Chances are you're looking at a common species with a not so common condition - leucism. Not to be mistaken with albinism, which is a rare genetic mutation caused by the absence of melanin in all pigment cells, resulting in the unmistakable all-white appearance and pink eyes.
Leucism on the other hand, only presents pigmentation loss in certain cells, thus making leucistic birds (and animals) easy to tell apart as the iris pigmentation will remain dark in colour and the feathers, skin or hair will appear blotchy in appearance, much like our subject in question - you guessed it - the robin (pictured left).
Shirley says: 'I photographed this leucistic robin at Cannock Chase, German Military Cemetery.' - quite the spot Shirley, thank you! If you've got a similarly rare sighting stored on your camera, we'd love to see it, please send your photos to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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