Canary 2003 & 2004
Leucistic Willow Warbler,
8th May 2004. Isle of Mull
This willow warbler (female)
returned (7th May) to exactly the same place as it was in 2003 where it
successfully bred. It has managed to migrate in late Summer and return
again this Spring. With such bright and unusual plumage it is amazing that
it had not been taken by a Buzzard or Sparrow Hawk or another bird of prey,
of which we have many on Mull. It paired up with a normal willow warbler
as its mate and mamaged to raise a family
Photo's by Alan Spellman
this is not albinism (ie
white with pink eyes), but involves variable amounts of white, whitish
or pale plumage.'Pale' (ie slightly leucistic, washed out) birds seem to
be recorded quite rarely, although with pale plumage and white wings and
tail, such birds are near the extreme end of the scale, although ,sometime
there will be a pure white bird, with dark eyes, the extreme on the leucistic
scale.The paler hard parts would be part of the same phenomenon, and the
more rounded heads and larger size perhaps a 'trick' of the pale-colours/light
or a 'fluffed-up' posture? Leucism is a genetic characteristic resulting
in a partial loss of pigment.It is rare amongst wild birds - total pigment
loss (albinism) is more common.
Bird Club Member Angus Slorach
reports a Leucistic Siskin in his garden 4th-6th May 2004.
All black and greenish colouration appeared to have been replaced with
canary yellow except for a few brown flecks - forehead through
to rump and chin down to chest. Ear coverts brownish. The wings
were shades of brown and although the wing-bars were there they were not
obvious. Tail brown and yellow. Belly white with brown
streaks (normal). Legs and bill brownish-pink.
Leucistic Rock Pipit at Loch Buie in 2006 -2007.
photo by Douglas Methven