[Tweeters] Leucistic / Leukistic Blackbird

Sammy Catiis hikersammy at msn.com
Thu Feb 12 21:22:43 PST 2015


First 11 of these are a Leucistic Blackbird. The jury is split. First Cornell to respond says it's not Leucistic but it's Albino due to pink beak and pink legs. And it's a Red Winged Blackbird. The specialist in Leucism, say it's deff. not Albino due to the dark pupil and the yellow around the eye. Current criteria (?) for Albino would have no color at all. One thought it was a Starling. After side by side comparisons, I'm 80% sure it's a Brewers Blackbird. The yellow not being pigment affected by Leucism. If it were a Male Red Wing for instance, the red on the shoulders would still be red. Red, Yellow, Blue and Green are not melanin pigment, but carotenoid / structual. However after relooking today, it may be a Red Wing. One more group from Cornell is looking at it. I have a wager it will be a different ID as well. Maybe not. I put up some of the Brewers for comparison. As you can see, it's on the line with other Brewers. HOWEVER, in the grain, it was with Red Wings, Cow Birds, Starlings and yes, Brewers (equal ratio). At this point, I'm 99% sure it's a Blackbird. Which one? It's a matter of opinion at this point. Depends which rules you follow to decide whether or not it's Leukistic or Albino. And without color and DNA it's almost impossible to tell the species. One thing is for sure, it was an amazing sight to see that bright white along with all those black bird species. Must have been a few hundred of them. Groups of 30 or so flying past in mixed groups. And one more thing is for sure. Corn cow feed is good for the cows and makes fat and happy birds.

These were shot at a secret location somewhere in North Sedro Woolley. A promise to the farmer that regardless of the findings, that it would remain an unknown area.

For more on the controversy and education, and to see why nobody will ever come to the same conclusion, I suggest you read :

And all about color: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/studying/feathers/color/document_view

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