Re: Pedantry (phase v. morph); and leucism/melanism.

To: "Conole, Lawrie" <>, "'ozbird'" <>
Subject: Re: Pedantry (phase v. morph); and leucism/melanism.
From: (Danny Rogers)
Date: Fri, 9 Jan 1998 12:38:16 +1100 (EST)
At 02:31 PM 8/01/98 +1000, Conole, Lawrie wrote:
>On the subject of colour in birds, a friend in Geelong had recently been
>observing a strange looking honeyeater in his garden.  One night it had
>found itself confined in the neighbour's greenhouse, so Ira took his
>chance, captured the bird, and rang me.  It turned out to be a New
>Holland Honeyeater, but one considerably lacking in melanin.  The beak
>and legs were horn coloured, the eyes pinkish, most of the plumage a
>washed out pale buff-grey, but the white and yellow feathers quite
>normal.  Is this a "leucistic" bird, or just a "negatively melanistic"
>bird??  ;-)
It sounds like this bird was lacking in black melanin but not brown melanin,
a condition which has been described  Campbell & Lack's Dictionary of Birds
(Poyser, 1985). The learned term for this abnormality is (wait for it):
"eumelanic schizochroism". I can't say I often use this expression in
everyday conversation...

Danny Rogers

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