The Mull Canary    2003 & 2004

Leucistic Willow Warbler, 8th May 2004.  Isle of Mull
Photo's by Alan Spellman

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
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.

Leucistic Willow Warbler 8th May 2004


Bird Club Member Angus Slorach reports a Leucistic Siskin in his garden 4th-6th May 2004.
IDENTIFICATION:   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

This is the web site of Alan Spellman, 'Maridon' Lochdon, Isle of Mull. PA64  6AP