Leucistic House Finch – Haemorhous mexicanus ~ Take II

Last year was the first time I saw this Leucistic finch Lady. I’ve not seen her since that time. I didn’t know if being a different color than all your buddies has as many problems as us humans seem to have. I’m glad to see she is alive and visiting me.

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The specific term to use for my bird is ‘Brown‘.

Brown as aberration is defined as a qualitative reduction of eumelanin. In this mutation, the amount of pigment remains unchanged but the appearance of the eumelanin is changed (cf Kopf 1986). As a result of an inherited incomplete oxi-dation of eumelanin, black feathers will turn dark brown. The phaeomelanin is unaffected. In bird species in which both melanins occur naturally, this mutation is less obvious than inspecies which only have eumelanin. So, a ‘brown’ House Sparrow Passer domesticus (both melanins present) appears less aberrant than a ‘brown’ Carrion Crow (only eumelanin). How-ever, feathers with a qualitative reduction of eumelanin are very sensitive to (sun)light and bleach quickly and strongly. So, old plumage is often almost white because the feathers are bleached by (sun)light. For that reason, this mutation is sometimes hard to distinguish in the field. In the hand, such a bleached ‘brown’ bird can be recognized by, eg, the colour of the down layer under the contour feathers and the colour of those parts of the remiges and rectrices cover-ed by neighbouring feathers (often inner webs).

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

17 thoughts on “Leucistic House Finch – Haemorhous mexicanus ~ Take II

  1. She’s a beautiful bird and I like the pic that you got of her. What kind of feeder is that? Looks like a fine mesh stocking but I know that it is not. Do the birds like the feeder and what are you putting in it?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I need to get more feeders. Mine are getting old.
    I have a book on building birdhouses. I’ve thought about it. But what would I do with all of them????
    Bird condos I guess! 😉
    One of my fav birds are the indigo bunting. Wow..they are awesome colored! And the jays..cardinals..there are all kinds around here.
    ( even a bird that looks and sounds like a squirrel. ..grrr…he wont stay out of my bird feeder. )
    But it gives Zak something to do for excitement.. he never gets near them. Just chases them off after awhile.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indigos are very beautiful. I’ve only seen one in my life. I’m told I need to offer meal worms at my buffet and they will come. I don’t have any houses, but I offer cotton nest material. The birds fight over it! Some are picky and empty it looking for the right piece of fluff 😠 I guess they will find it on the ground also…
      The squirrels can’t get to mine and I feed them separately. I’ve seen them eyeballing the feeders, but it would be an epic Fail to try to jump for them.


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