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What's This?

Picture 3
Red-winged Blackbird

Photograph by Adrian Binns in Churchville PA on 2/25/05

Comment by Adrian Binns
This bird was at my feeders 2/25/05. The identification should not be a problem. How about the feathering on the left side of the throat? I’ve never seen anything like this before. It seems to be a pigmentation of the feathers that matches his shoulder patches. Is this what is known as schizochroism, where the absence of one of the pigments normally found in its plumage results in paleness? Probably not as it only effect a certain area and not the whole body. Or is this possibly xanthochroism, a yellowing (though it is reddish in the photo) of the plumage due to loss of the melanin, the dark pigment in the feathers, which in turn allows the yellow carotenoid pigment to dominate? The right side of his body was normal. Whereas odd birds occasionally show various amounts of white (leucism) or a deeper or different color such as in the tail tip of Waxwings (due to food source), this bird has picked up colored feathering which makes it unusual. I believe that there is also a small patch of white feathers on the breast.

Any comments about abnormal colored feathering?



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