Mystery bird at Pt Cook

To: "Philip A. Veerman" <>, "birding aus" <>
Subject: Mystery bird at Pt Cook
From: "Rohan Clarke" <>
Date: Wed, 2 Jun 2004 10:00:39 +1000
Hi Philip and others,
My understanding is that while a lutino bird displays an excess of yellow a leucistic bird is deficient in melanin in some or all feather tracts. For example I found this on the web...
Buckley, P. A. 1982. Avian genetics. Pp. 21-110 in M. Petrak (ed.), Diseases of cage and aviary birds, 2nd ed. Lea and Febiger, Philadelphia. "Perhaps more loosely and improperly used than any other term relating to color in birds, albinism is, no more and no less, the complete absence of all pigmentation, resulting in white feathers (for the reasons just discussed), pink eyes (no melanin obscures blood circulation, cause of the pink color) and light bills and legs/feet. Albinism is all or nothing, and a bird can no more be a 'partial albino' than a female mammal 'partially pregnant.' ... What is most frequently termed albinism by the layman is properly called leucism. It may be complete or partial, bilaterally symmetrical or asymmetrical, and may affect melanins, carotenoids and porphyrins differentially. Leucism is simply the complete loss of a particular pigment, or all pigments, in feathers but not in soft parts. It may be as slight as a single white primary feather on only one wing, or as pervasive as an all-white bird with normal eyes, bill and legs" (p. 65).
In birding circles it seems to have been commonly used in this way for at least the last 20 years.
-----Original Message-----
From: [On Behalf Of Philip A. Veerman
Sent: Tuesday, 1 June 2004 5:27 PM
Cc: birding aus
Subject: [BIRDING-AUS] Mystery bird at Pt Cook

By the description, I don't know that it is leucism. It seems to be melanin deficient, rather than yellow excess.
-----Original Message-----
From: <>
To: Carol Probets <>
Cc: m("","birding-aus");"> <m("","birding-aus");">>
Date: Tuesday, 1 June 2004 16:56
Subject: RE: [BIRDING-AUS] Mystery bird at Pt Cook

What causes ?leucism? in birds?

There was a leucistic Superb Fairy Wren at the You Yangs in Victoria last year (possibly still there).  It was a really amazing bird to see, and almost seemed like a new species.

The You Yangs is only 50km from Point Cook, so would environmental factors play a part in the development of this syndrome?


Carol Probets <>
Sent by:

01/06/2004 04:45 PM

RE: [BIRDING-AUS] Mystery bird at Pt Cook

Almost 20 years ago I was regularly seeing a leucistic New Holland
Honeyeater in heathland at Mt Victoria (in the Upper Blue Mountains,
NSW). This bird was bright white all over, except for the normal
yellow on the wings and tail, and a faint smudge of grey around the
face where it's usually black. With this colour scheme the bird
almost glowed. It seemed to interact normally with the other New
Hollands. I still have a couple of slides of the bird which were
taken by a friend.

As chance would have it, a couple of years later I saw another
similar bird at Katoomba (which is 15km from Mt Vic).



Carol Probets
Blue Mountains NSW
100km west of Sydney

Rohan Clarke wrote:
>It is almost certainly a leucistic New Holland Honeyeater that I
>found and photographed near the last carpark at the beach BBQ area
>last week. It has a black head and yellow patches in the wing and
>tail but the rest of the bird's plumage is cream. When I get around
>to converting the images from raw format to jpg I'll send you some
>record shots.
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