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Photo Submission

Submitted By

Diana Spendelow

Silver Spring, MD, USA


This bird visited our feeders several times in January 2020, but we have not seen it since. We have never seen a bird marked like this before. We contacted Cornell Lab about it and received this reply:

“This looks to me like a female cardinal with some variety of Leucism–a mutation that causes the color difference.

In rare cases, a bird does not produce melanin at a normal level or in a normal pattern. The resulting color patterns are referred to as being albino (white), leucistic (patches of pure white), or with dilute plumage. When birds produce too much melanin, they are referred to as melanistic. The unusual color patterns can be the result of injury, poor nutrition, or a genetic mutation.”

You can read more about it at these links:

Unusual Birds

Bird Plumage Variations and Abnormalities


Leucistic Northern Cardinal

Leucistic Northern Cardinal at feeder in Silver Spring, MD on Jan. 19, 2020.

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