Leucistic robin has 'Santa beard'19/12/2012 12:12:25 ‘Santa Robin' is timely leucistic bird
December 2012. This remarkable bird has been reported to the British Trust for Ornithology's (BTO) Abnormal Plumage Survey.
The timely ‘Santa Robin', which was seen by Ian Wilson in Derbyshire, is a leucistic bird. This inherited disorder causes parts of a bird's plumage not to have their normal colour and to appear white, often affecting areas around the face and on the wings.
Most common in blackbirds
Leucism (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.
Click here to see our gallery of albino and leucistic animals and birds.
Tim Harrison, BTO Abnormal Plumage Survey coordinator, commented: "The red breast of a Robin doesn't just make it look pretty - it plays an important role in its life. Unlike most other garden birds, Robins defend their territories throughout the year and display using their breast to warn rivals to ‘keep out'. It is possible that a white ‘beard' could affect this communication."
Tim concluded: "With the help of the public, the BTO Abnormal Plumage Survey is charting odd-looking garden birds up and down the country, with records extending from Shetland to the Scilly Isles. Please keep your eyes peeled and let the BTO know what strange birds you see."
Abnormal Plumage Survey