If you see a bird with abnormal white feathers or washed-out plumage, that bird may have a genetic condition called leucism, (pronounced LUKE-ism). Leucism prevents pigments from reaching some — or sometimes all — of a bird’s feathers. Check out these photos of leucistic birds by several BirdNote photo contributors:
A Black-capped Chickadee
A Northern Shoveler — you can tell it's a shoveler, rather than a domestic duck, by looking closely at its bill
From one of the largest of our birds, the Bald Eagle, to one of the smallest, the Anna's Hummingbird
A Dark-eyed Junco — the pink bill is a giveaway
Three different American Robins, with varying degrees of leucism
This Red-tailed Hawk is almost completely white, but lacks the red eye of an "albinistic" bird.
Dory and Ray Hamlyn named their local leucistic American Crow "Blondie"
This Great-tailed Grackle was spotted by perennial photo contributor, Greg Lavaty, and photographed by Joanne Kamo
Thanks to photo contributors, Dory Hamlyn, Mike Hamilton, Gregg Thompson, Robin Agarwal, Larry Jordan, Pat Gaines, Tom Muir, Joanne Kamo, and Greg Lavaty
Listen to the BirdNote story, Why Is My Robin Half-white?