White Birds - photos and discussion

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
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Brent Stephenson
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White Birds - photos and discussion

Postby Brent Stephenson » Tue Oct 20, 2009 10:35 pm

Hi all,
This week received two separate emails with photos of leucistic/mocha birds. One set of photos from Rosemary Tully (I think taken by Bill Wycherley) showing a female house sparrow. The second set show a tui photographed by Paddy Mansell at her home in Manakau (near Levin).

Many thanks to both for passing on these photos, both are interesting looking birds.
Cheers,
Brent

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Brent Stephenson
Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ - Great birds, real birders
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Shane McPherson
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Re: Leucistic sparrow and tui...

Postby Shane McPherson » Sun Oct 25, 2009 7:41 pm

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yes of course, sorry. This was taken on saturday 24th between Kawakawa and Moerewa - Northland.

It flew a short distance further from us, and it immediately appeared large. Although I was well aware of the illusion that strong contrast (white bird, dark background) affects our impression of size. But as the sun went down, this partially leucistic whitefaced heron - and a previously unnoticed normal wf heron - flew off over the horizon together... you can clearly see they are the same size.
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Neil Fitzgerald
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Re: Leucistic sparrow and tui...

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:43 pm

Nice one Shane. You going to give any clues as to where it was taken?
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Brent Stephenson
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Re: Leucistic sparrow and tui...

Postby Brent Stephenson » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:30 pm

If this is the bird up near Kerikeri Ohaeawai north of Kawakawa (I've seen it on the side of SH1 before) - then it seems to be getting whiter and whiter?
Let us know where it was Shane...
Cheers,
Brent Stephenson
Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ - Great birds, real birders
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Shane McPherson
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Re: Leucistic sparrow and tui...

Postby Shane McPherson » Tue Oct 27, 2009 3:37 pm

sounds like the right area Brent
just west of Kawakawa
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Brent Stephenson
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Re: Leucistic sparrow and tui...

Postby Brent Stephenson » Tue Oct 27, 2009 10:32 pm

That'd be it! I've put the images I took on 04/04/08 below, and as I look at them I realise it is actually whiter back then than I remember...cool bird though. It is undoubtedly the one that started a mad 'white-necked heron' twitch back in Oct 2007. It does indeed have resemblance to a white-necked heron plumage-wise, but is just a 'lowly' partial albino white-faced heron...I think Steve Wood got some better photos of this bird.

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Cheers,
Brent Stephenson
Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ - Great birds, real birders
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Shane McPherson
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Re: Leucistic sparrow and tui...

Postby Shane McPherson » Wed Oct 28, 2009 5:13 am

ahhh yes. nice shots brent.

although you are right in thinking that it has got whiter... only that it doesnt show in my pictures. It has replaced those grey primaries with white ones - it now looks as though it has a complete set of white flight feathers on both wings. so my really grainy shot of the upper wing surface was enough to rule out white-necked - which have grey coverts.
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Shane McPherson
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Re: Leucistic Birds - photos and discussion

Postby Shane McPherson » Wed Oct 28, 2009 2:37 pm

Morepork

I helped out with some morepork work on Ponui Island, Hauraki Gulf, in 2006. Although I didnt get to see it, I heard there was a quite famous (locally) fully leucistic Morepork there. Maybe someone is lucky enough to have a photo of that!!??
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Re: Leucistic Birds - photos and discussion

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Wed Oct 28, 2009 3:30 pm

I've heard of a fully white morepork near Arapuni (Waikato) too.
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Shane McPherson
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Re: Leucistic Birds - photos and discussion

Postby Shane McPherson » Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:43 pm

I managed to track down the photo of the leucistic Morepork

29 March 2005
Carryn Hojem
Ponui Island, Hauraki Gulf.

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