This photo was taken in our backyard. Is this sparrow an example of leucism? If it is, should we see other birds in the flock with excessive light or white feathers?
Yes, this pale-headed sparrow could be classed as an example of leucism, where excessive white or pale feathers appear in the plumage.
A normal male sparrow should have a grey crown, black between the eye and the beak, a black throat, rich brown behind the eye and a blackish beak. Knowledge about genetics and probabilities would be necessary to state whether more white-affected sparrows are likely to appear in your local population, but this seems possible.
Because your bird has only recently been sighted, it is probably a young one from last summer. It - or its parents - may breed this year.
- Questions and photos are welcome. Send to Roger Thomas at The Courier, PO Box 21, Ballarat, 3353, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org