Leucistic juvenile Starling

Phil Jackman forwarded these images of a leucistic juvenile Starling present in his Kettering garden this weekend. While generally uncommon, leucism (really a lower concentration of melanin) in juvenile Starlings has been recorded on numerous occasions and invites confusion with juvenile Rose-coloured Starling which, however, has a largely yellow bill (especially at the base) and pale lores.

Leucistic juvenile Starling, Kettering, 5th July 2014 (Phil Jackman)

Leucistic juvenile Starling, Kettering, 5th July 2014 (Phil Jackman)

Also, this individual has already begun its post-juvenile moult, which commences with the wing feathers – in this case all the juvenile greater coverts, except the outer two, have been replaced.

Leucistic juvenile Starling, Kettering, 5th July 2014 (Phil Jackman)

Leucistic juvenile Starling, Kettering, 5th July 2014 (Phil Jackman)

This feather tract is again different to the equivalent plainer feathers of Rose-coloured. It’s interesting that these first-winter feathers are apparently normal, suggesting the bird’s leucism (lack of melanin) is age-related.

Many thanks to Phil for the images of this interesting bird.

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One Response to Leucistic juvenile Starling

  1. Pingback: Leucistic juvenile Starling revisited | Northantsbirds

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