Skip to Content

Leucistic Birds

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

Moderator: hilda

ruthers
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 4:17 pm

Leucistic Birds

Unread postby ruthers » Tue Dec 01, 2009 11:09 am

Hi All,

We visited Grootvadersbos a few weekends ago - and had a good time birding. We had marginal success - but we were thrilled to get an excellent look at a pair of Narina Trogons.

At the campsite I caught a glimpse of what I first thought was someones pet Cockatoo. But on closer inspection it was hanging around with a mousebird. The two were not overly shy and I got an excellent look later - it was clearly a "white" / entirely Pale version of a mousbird. I'm guessing this is some kind of pale morph / albino / genetic defect.

Is this common in mousebirds - or any other birds for that matter?

Lee

User avatar
Bush Baptist
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 9918
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 12:38 pm
Location: In the shadow of Table Mountain

Re: Pale / Albino Mousebird - Grootvadersbos

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:41 pm

Pale versions of NO darker bird are common. You have had a great sighting. Any pics?
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

ruthers
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 4:17 pm

Re: Pale / Albino Mousebird - Grootvadersbos

Unread postby ruthers » Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:38 pm

Oh dear - no photo's I'm afraid. I'd hope some other birders would see it this summer. It was a rather conspicuous and gregarious visitor in the Grootvadersbos campsite - and appeared quite settled. We looked at it for some time on both mornings that we were there. Given the neck-straining, eye-squinting birdwatching in the nearby forest, perhaps the obviousness of this little fella lulled us into the feeling that this was all rather common place.

Funny how lessons are learned.

User avatar
Moegaai
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 242
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:15 am
Location: Jozi, RSA

Re: Pale / Albino Mousebird - Grootvadersbos

Unread postby Moegaai » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:02 pm

A white form of any species is usually referred to as Leucism, which is a phenomenon whereby a body is unable or only partially able to provide skin or feather pigmentation (pigment cells fail to develop, either partially or over the entire body). This is different to Albinism, where a complete lack of melanin pigment occurs, so the eyes, skin and hair/feathers are affected. You will notice with Leucism that the bird will still have the normal bill, eye and leg colour.

Leucistic birds are not uncommon, even though it isn't everyday that you get to see them.

Leucism can be partial or complete, so you may see birds with varying degrees of white blotching, to completely white.

ruthers
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 4:17 pm

Re: Pale / Albino Mousebird - Grootvadersbos

Unread postby ruthers » Fri Dec 04, 2009 1:38 pm

Thanks Moegaai,

I am now thoroughly briefed. Leucism will be my new word of the week.

User avatar
Touareg
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 483
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:14 pm
Location: Somerset West

Re: Birding: WCNP

Unread postby Touareg » Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:42 pm

Hi. I happen to be in the Geelbek hide on 22 November 2009 when the Cape Bird CLub was doing a sensus (i think). This bird was pointed out as being out of the ordinary. I took a few photos and the guys at the Cape Bird Club id'd it as a Curlew Sandpiper but one that is leucistic. This means that it is partly
lacking melanin pigments. I further understand that these beauties are a common Siberian species, so a long commute to Langebaan :clap:
Image
Image
[b] Another day in paradise.

KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012

User avatar
Tilandi
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 13535
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2007 3:18 pm
Location: Silent fountain

Re: Leucistic Birds

Unread postby Tilandi » Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:16 pm

Image

Image
Had this leucistic Cape Turtle-Dove in my garden in December 2009, left for KNP and when I got home he was gone. :( :D
Latest lifer 503 Eurasian Curlew

User avatar
anne-marie
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 9308
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 10:36 pm
Location: Lausanne (Switzerland)

Re: Leucistic Birds

Unread postby anne-marie » Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:56 am

like this one, seems to be a sparrow... but the beak is not dark :|
Image
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye
Le Petit Prince

planing KTP janv/fev.2016

Jumbo

Re: Leucistic Birds

Unread postby Jumbo » Tue May 17, 2011 1:11 pm

A Leucistic Guineafowl at our house in Marloth Park

Image

Image

User avatar
Guinea Pig
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1743
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 12:52 pm
Location: My business...

Re: Leucistic Birds

Unread postby Guinea Pig » Tue May 17, 2011 4:37 pm

Let's see how long I get away with this one, but I can't resist. It's such a perfect example. lol

Taken in Europe, the Common Blackbird (Turdus merula)

A normal one looks like this :

Image

A Leucistic one like this :

Image

User avatar
Bush Baptist
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 9918
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 12:38 pm
Location: In the shadow of Table Mountain

Re: Leucistic Birds

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Thu May 19, 2011 11:18 am

It is a fine example of a leucistic bird GP, so what's the problem? :thumbs_up:
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

User avatar
Guinea Pig
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1743
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 12:52 pm
Location: My business...

Re: Leucistic Birds

Unread postby Guinea Pig » Thu May 19, 2011 2:06 pm

It's a European Bird so I was taking a bit of a chance that it may not be allowed. :lol: Seems okay though!

User avatar
Dabchick
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 633
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 9:22 am
Location: Pretoria

Re: Leucistic Birds

Unread postby Dabchick » Fri May 20, 2011 7:02 am

I've seen a partially leucistic southern masked weaver in our garden this past breeding season. It had the black mask and was black everywhere it was supposed to be black, but was pure white where the yellow feathers were supposed to be. No pics unfortunately.

WildWings
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:54 pm

Re: Leucistic Birds

Unread postby WildWings » Sun May 29, 2011 11:18 am

Seen this leucistic greater blue-eared starling at the Skukuza day-visitors centre on 28 May 2011.

Image

pnm
Posts: 209
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 2:33 pm
Location: Paarl

Re: Leucistic Birds

Unread postby pnm » Sun Jul 03, 2011 8:17 pm

Here is a leucistic Guinea Fowl whose progress I have been following for some six months. I see the bird regularly. It is part of a huge flock on a mixed farm that has extensive wheatlands. The flock tends to stick to the lower riveland area of the farm. There are PLENTY of raptors around but none so far seem to have got this one, despite it being so badly camouflaged.

Pete

Image
Pete


Return to “Birding in Southern Africa”