Leucism and Leucistic Birds & Animals & other Colour Variations
01/04/2008 16:52:40Leucism (or Leukism) Leucism is a very unusual condition whereby the pigmentation cells in an animal or bird fail to develop properly. This can result in unusual white patches appearing on the animal, or, more rarely, completely white creatures.
Albinism is a different condition. The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is that in albinism the eyes are usually pink or red, and albinism affects the entire animal, not just patches.
This occasionaly causes very excited biologists to think they have discovered a new species, when in fact leucism is the cause of the unusual markings they have seen.
Xanthochroism Birds can show this condition in one of two ways: either there is an excess of yellow in the plumage or the yellow replaces another colour (in this instance the red). The condition has been reported in a number of species, including other species of woodpecker (in North America), and in many instances the colour replaced is red. White giraffe seen in Botswana.
Send us your photos of any leucistic, albino, melanistic, xanthocristic or erythrisctic animals or birds and we will add them to gallery.
There are many absolutely fantastic photographs of leaping dolphins, hunting lions and flocks of flamingos, but this section is dedicated to those photographs that show something just a little bit different. See more unusual wildlife sightings
This melanistic, black adder was seen in north-east Kent.
Another reader, Steve Tolan, of the Chipembele Wildlife Education Centre has also seen some leucistic baboons inthe Luangwa Valley. There does seem to be a "leucistic hotspot" in the Luangwa, as we have had several reports of different animals from the beautiful part of the world.
Despite the recent claim by the BBC that a white elephant seal seen in 2008 on Marion Island was the first confirmed sighting of a leucistic elephant seal, one of our readers, Nancy Spruance, has sent us a photo of a leucistic Elephant seal that she saw on Prion Island, off the northeast coast of South Georgia, way back in November 2003.
Volunteer rescuers had a surprise when they went to rescue a deer that was caught in a rope swing in some Sussex woods. To their amazement the deer, a male fallow deer, was completely white and is thought to be a very rare albino.