Monday, March 2, 2015

Cardinal - Leucistic?

 I've seen this bird before, I believe. But yesterday this male (?) cardinal stopped by our suet feeder and took enough time there that I was able to get my camera and record what I was seeing.

 But what - pray tell - was I seeing?

 I believe this would be called a Northern Cardinal - Leucistic. In other words, a bird that hasn't developed the proper amount of pigment. As stated in the provided link, this bird seems to have normal eye, bill and some of his plumage color. This bird is clearly not albino (totally white). There are, of course, examples of partial albinism, however.

 The picture above was taken when the bird perched on a snow-covered branch of our maple tree, just outside the kitchen window. The bird has lost pigment (carotenoid) only on his right side. This side view gives a clear indication of the extent of that pigment loss.

 When he flew to a clear branch I was able to get a more head-on photo, even slightly favoring the bird's left side. There is some minor loss of pigment even there.

 Other Internet sources note a Gender-bender cardinal. I do not think that's what this is. Yet another source shows a rare albino cardinal. Again, this bird exhibits too much pigment for that and both normal eyes and bill.

 Surely there are some serious bird watchers who can tell me what this is? Comments definitely welcome.

No comments:

Post a Comment