This unusual American Goldfinch with white in the tail feathers turned up in our yard this past weekend.

Leisa Baker, Peterborough

Note: This is a leucistic bird, meaning that it is lacking pigment in the tail feathers. Leucism seems to turn up quite regularly in goldfinches. This condition is caused by a genetic mutation that prevents pigments such as melanin  from being present on a bird’s feathers.  Leucism can include scattered white patches (where there shouldn’t be any), a paler overall plumage or even a totally white plumage with almost no colour visible. D.M.

Leucistic AMGO - Oct. 2014 - Leisa Baker

Leucistic AMGO – Oct. 2014 – Leisa Baker

Categories: Sightings

Drew Monkman

I am a retired teacher, naturalist and writer with a love for all aspects of the natural world, especially as they relate to seasonal change.