Whitish, Sort of Kind of Albino-like Penguin Found in Antarctica
by Christine Dell’Amore
Birds of a feather usually flock together—but not in the case of a rare  “white” mutant penguin, spotted Monday in a chinstrap penguin colony in  Antarctica. The “blonde” penguin, seen at the edge of one of the South Shetland Islands (map), “astonished” tourists on a National GeographicJourney to Antarctica cruise, naturalist David Stephens, of the Lindblad Expeditions cruise company, wrote on his blog.
Though the penguin looks like an albino, the bird actually appears to have isabellinism, said penguin expert P. Dee Boersma of the University of Washington in Seattle. The  condition is a genetic mutation that dilutes pigment in penguins’  feathers, according to a 2009 study on isabellinism published in the  journal Marine Ornithology.
This  results in a “uniform lightening” of a bird’s dark colors, turning the  animal a grayish yellow or pale brown, the study said…
(read more: National Geographic)    
(photo: David Stephens, National Geographic Expeditions )

Whitish, Sort of Kind of Albino-like Penguin Found in Antarctica

by Christine Dell’Amore

Birds of a feather usually flock together—but not in the case of a rare “white” mutant penguin, spotted Monday in a chinstrap penguin colony in Antarctica. The “blonde” penguin, seen at the edge of one of the South Shetland Islands (map), “astonished” tourists on a National GeographicJourney to Antarctica cruise, naturalist David Stephens, of the Lindblad Expeditions cruise company, wrote on his blog.

Though the penguin looks like an albino, the bird actually appears to have isabellinism, said penguin expert P. Dee Boersma of the University of Washington in Seattle. The condition is a genetic mutation that dilutes pigment in penguins’ feathers, according to a 2009 study on isabellinism published in the journal Marine Ornithology.

This results in a “uniform lightening” of a bird’s dark colors, turning the animal a grayish yellow or pale brown, the study said…

(read more: National Geographic)    

(photo: David Stephens, National Geographic Expeditions )

magnifisoup

The White Ravens of Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Isld, CAN
The birds are said not to be “albino,” but “leucistic,” a genetic defect resulting in birds that lack normal pigmentation. (“Albinism” is a result of the reduction of melanin.) They first appeared in Vancouver about 10 years ago, which is now known as the “White Raven Capital of the World.”
(via: Vancouver Isld. Birds)

The White Ravens of Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Isld, CAN

The birds are said not to be “albino,” but “leucistic,” a genetic defect resulting in birds that lack normal pigmentation. (“Albinism” is a result of the reduction of melanin.) They first appeared in Vancouver about 10 years ago, which is now known as the “White Raven Capital of the World.”

(via: Vancouver Isld. Birds)

Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

This strange beast flew right in front of me and  perched on a nearby tree! I’ve never seen anything like it. The bird is  not completely white, as it has color in it’s eyes and about 1.25 red  tail feathers. Technically it is considered leucistic,  which means that melanin is produced but not deposited correctly.

I  don’t know exactly how rare it is, although the Cornell birding site  indicated that for the 5.5 million birds of all species counted between  2000-2006, fewer than 1000 were leucistic - so less than 1 in 5,500  birds on average. The North American red tail hawk population is  estimated to be about 2 million birds, so perhaps as few as 360 of these  are leucistic. Even fewer are nearly all white like this one. Wild.
(text/photo: Pat Gaines)

Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

This strange beast flew right in front of me and perched on a nearby tree! I’ve never seen anything like it. The bird is not completely white, as it has color in it’s eyes and about 1.25 red tail feathers. Technically it is considered leucistic, which means that melanin is produced but not deposited correctly.

I don’t know exactly how rare it is, although the Cornell birding site indicated that for the 5.5 million birds of all species counted between 2000-2006, fewer than 1000 were leucistic - so less than 1 in 5,500 birds on average. The North American red tail hawk population is estimated to be about 2 million birds, so perhaps as few as 360 of these are leucistic. Even fewer are nearly all white like this one. Wild.

(text/photo: Pat Gaines)

Adolescent White Lion, Kruger National Park, South Africa
White lions are not albinos but are leucistic. They have pigment visible in the eyes (which may be the normal hazel or golden color,  blue-gray, or green-gray), paw pads and lips. The leucistic trait is due to the  chinchilla mutation that inhibits the deposition of pigment along the  hair shaft, restricting it to the tips. The less pigment there is along  the hair shaft, the paler the lion. As a result “white” lions range from  blonde through to near white. The males have pale manes and tail tips  instead of the usual dark tawny or black… (Wikipedia)
(photo: Wilfred Klein)

Adolescent White Lion, Kruger National Park, South Africa

White lions are not albinos but are leucistic. They have pigment visible in the eyes (which may be the normal hazel or golden color, blue-gray, or green-gray), paw pads and lips. The leucistic trait is due to the chinchilla mutation that inhibits the deposition of pigment along the hair shaft, restricting it to the tips. The less pigment there is along the hair shaft, the paler the lion. As a result “white” lions range from blonde through to near white. The males have pale manes and tail tips instead of the usual dark tawny or black… (Wikipedia)

(photo: Wilfred Klein)

magpiebones asked:

Could you by any chance do a series on leucistic animals? I'd love to see some. :)

Indeed kumquat, lets have some leucistic animals!

For those who don’t know, Leucism is a reduction or absence of all skin/hair/father pigments, while albinism is specifically an absence or reduction of just melanin. Other pigments may remain in the eyes though, so the eyes usually look dark or blue, and not reddish as do those of albinos.

http://rhamphotheca.tumblr.com/tagged/leucistic

animalworld

animalworld: Leucistic RED-TAILED HAWK - Buteo jamaicensis

©Jason Penney / J Centavo on Flickr

Other Leucistic Animal Posts you might like:

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

White Peacock

Sugar Glider

birdblog: Leucism, or leukism, is an abnormal plumage condition caused by a genetic mutation that prevents pigment, particularly melanin, from being properly deposited on a bird’s feathers. As a result, the birds do not have the normal, classic plumage colors listed in field guides, and instead the plumage have several color changes, including: white patches where the bird should not have any; paler overall plumage that looks faint, diluted or bleached; or overall white plumage with little or no color discernible.

Leucism is relatively unusual in birds, and albinism is rare. From 2000-2006, Project FeederWatch participants reported fewer than 1000 leucistic birds. Given that participants report about 5.5 million birds each season, the percentage of leucistic birds being reported is very small.

(photos by J Centavo on Flickr)