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White hummingbird: What the heck is this strange colored hummer?

By Gary Bogue
Friday, September 25th, 2009 at 7:57 am in hummingbirds.

Leucistic hummingbird. Photo by Don McConnell, Oakland, CA
White hum2 mcconnell
Gary:
A cream-colored hummingbird with a rusty back has been visiting my feeder, fighting with the Anna’s hummers that usually dominate it. It doesn’t resemble any of the hummers in the Sibley guide. This was my first effort at setting up a tripod and focusing on a feeder – I didn’t realize that meant I’d have to stand there and pray the bird showed up. But it did eventually, at twilight, which is why the shots are dark. I also sent photos of an Anna’s male, earlier in the day, showing the tiny iridescent plates on its head.
But what the heck is my cream-and-rust hummer? I live in the Oakland hills west of 580, by the way.
Don McConnell, Oakland

Leucistic hummingbird. Photo by Don McConnell, Oakland, CA
White hum1 mcconnell
Don:
Some animals are albino (have no color) and some are leucistic (characterized by reduced pigmentation: color with some areas of white). I’ve seen blackbirds with just a couple of little white spots on their wings. That is leucistic. And I have seen birds almost completely white (like your hummer) with dark eyes and some areas of faded normal markings. There’s quite a bit of individual variation in leucistic animals.
It also just isn’t birds. Around the San Francisco Bay Area there are albino raccoons, complete with pink eyes, and leucistic raccoons which are white or blonde with faded normal markings and dark eyes. We also have leucistic and albino opossums.
By the size of the leucistic hummingbird in your photo, it may be a rufous hummingbird.
Normal colored Anna’s hummingbird. Photo by Don McConnell, Oakland, CA
hummer1 mcconnell
Anyway, thanks for sharing! Any other interesting photos of albino or leucistic wildlife floating around out there in never-never-land? Send them in and share them! /Gary

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One Response to “White hummingbird: What the heck is this strange colored hummer?”

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    [...] White hummingbird: What the heck is this strange colored hummer? | Gary Bogue http://www.ibabuzz.com/garybogue/2009/09/25/white-hummingbird-what-the-heck-is-this-strange-colored-hummer – view page – cached , Leucistic hummingbird. Photo by Don McConnell, Oakland, CA Gary: A cream-colored hummingbird with a rusty back has been visiting my feeder, fighting with — From the page [...]

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