Several years ago I had on a count site a
Mongolian (Lesser) Sand Plover that had completely white plumage but dark eyes.
I still have the photos of this some where. It was an interesting time identifying
this bird and the other counters and I had an interesting time with that. We
even sent the photo of to our count coordinators for verification.
From memory this bird stayed at the site
for around three months early in the return season. It was not banded.
Ph 02 6230 0182
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Mob 0402 181 002
The great tragedy
of life is not death, but what we let die inside of us while we live.
Sent: Wednesday, 10 August 2005
Subject: [canberrabirds] A
Blackbird called Pinto...
There are various kinds of plumage abnormalities recorded in
birds, albinism amongst them. Complete albinism is the total lack of
pigment in feathers and tissue (i.e. pink eyes, legs, etc), with partial
albinism the situation as described for John’s blackbird (though pied is
also appropriate). Other forms of plumage abnormalities include leucism
(lack of certain pigments, leading to ‘washed out’ plumage where
other pigments predominate, possibly the case with the YTBC at Wamboin),
xanthochroism (replacement of certain pigments with yellow – apparently
rare), melanism, etc. There is a very thorough paper on the subject by
B.L.Sage in the journal British Birds
from (I think) 1963. I published a review of the incidence of albinism
and melanism in Aussie birds some years go (see Lepschi, B.J. (1990). The
incidence of albinism and melanism in Australian birds: a review of the
literature. Corella, 14:
82-85). I haven’t got it to hand at the moment but from memory
Blackbirds featured quite highly, along with the Australian Magpie.
Probably no coincidence that the species for which these abnormalities were
most often recorded were common, familiar birds frequently seen around human
habitation (therefore with a higher chance of being seen and reported).
Still, these abnormalities have been recorded in all sorts of groups, from
waders to treecreepers to parrots to honeyeaters. The most spectacular I
have seen was a blackbird in which the wing feathers (primaries) alternated
black and white.
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2005
[UNCLASSIFIED]RE: [canberrabirds] A Blackbird called Pinto
pied is correct
albino is almost always an all white
animal, often with pink or blue eyes depending on the animal. Albino is a
complete loss of pigment.
Sent: Tuesday, 9 August 2005 8:28
To: chat line
Subject: [canberrabirds] A
Blackbird called Pinto
"Geoffrey, a very similar pattern to a blackbird that was
regularly seen in
our garden pre the fires, but in that case only one or two of the primary
feathers were white."
Maybe I should pull in my wise, wooly little head. See, I'm currently
drafting an Odd Ob for Canberra Bird Notes that features a male
Common Blackbird that had a heavily white-streaked crown, nape and mantle.
Amazingly, Pinto (as we called him) and his missus built a nest in our ... but
no, that would spoil the story. So, you'll just have to wait until / if it's
So, could someone tell me the correct _expression_ for this partial white
plumage. Partial albinism?
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