White swallow Waihopai valley

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Will Parsons
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Location: Blenheim
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White swallow Waihopai valley

Postby Will Parsons » Thu Apr 02, 2020 6:57 pm

Today I received an enquiry from the local newspaper journalist with a average photo of what looked to be like a white swallow and reddish breast .
It's stranger to me so perhaps you guys can help.
white swallow cropped.jpg
white swallow cropped.jpg (407.58 KiB) Viewed 736 times
white swallow 2.jpg
white swallow 2.jpg (554.46 KiB) Viewed 736 times
Finn Davey
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Re: White swallow Waihopai valley

Postby Finn Davey » Thu Apr 02, 2020 9:33 pm

It looks like a Leucistic Welcome Swallow.
Similar to albinsim (albino), expect Leucisim is a mutation that effects pigement in feathers and fur, albinism effects the pigment in all parts of an animal. Leucism doesn't always make the entire animal white, it's often seen in patches like a blackbird with a single white wing feather. This bird obviously has the leucistic mutation in all of it's feathers apart from the red/orange breast feathers.

So not a new species, just a common one with a rare look.
Paul Scofield
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Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:39 am

Re: White swallow Waihopai valley

Postby Paul Scofield » Fri Apr 03, 2020 12:18 pm

Actually, the presence of the very red throat in this individual is indicative of the fact this is not leucism but albinism. "Albinism does not affect the carotenoid pigments" such as the reds and yellows. Would need to see a closeup of the bill to be sure its not some form of extreme brown.

See

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273348895_What_Colour_is_that_bird_The_causes_and_recognition_of_common_colour_aberrations_in_birds

Cheers Paul
Will Parsons
Posts: 318
Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:00 pm
Location: Blenheim
Contact:

Re: White swallow Waihopai valley

Postby Will Parsons » Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:16 pm

Thanks guys for your post reply's. I shall pass onto the paper; vey interesting.
Finn Davey
Posts: 58
Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2020 9:38 am
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Re: White swallow Waihopai valley

Postby Finn Davey » Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:19 pm

I didn't know that fact about albinism not affecting the carotenoid pigments. That's really interesting
Alan Tennyson
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Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:54 pm

Re: White swallow Waihopai valley

Postby Alan Tennyson » Sun Apr 26, 2020 2:08 pm

I saw 2 swallows fly together north past the house at Waikanae Beach this morning. One seemed to be totally white but I only saw it for a second. Maybe the Waihopai bird is migrating :)
Alan

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