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Sturbridge, MA, United States
We see this little bird, junco sized, shaped and colored (except for the white neck ring) every few days at the feeder. He comes alone, and does not seem to be part of the junco flock that visits. Is he a junco? Or some other species?
It looks, behaves like a junco, but it has a white ring marking around the neck. The other juncos seem to avoid it.
We have one of these as well, and only one. The other Junco’s do not seem to mind him but we have dozens of birds at our feeder at any given time, and they always peck at each other, swooping around trying to get the “best spot” for seed, regardless of species. Probably a genetic quirk.
I have one of these as well, feeding on peanuts I put out every morning. Can’t find it in any bird identification book. Thank you for posting your picture. I live in Medford Oregon so it sounds like its nation wide
Thank you for posting! I have one that visits my feeder in Maryland. I’ve been searching everywhere for an ID for this little guy.
I saw one this week, on the ground, alone tho other juncos are here as well, in western Massachusetts
So is everyone thinking this is a Junco variant? I’ve have at least one at a feeder in Austin Texas for the last few weeks.
This is very likely to be a Dark-eyed Junco with leucism (absence of color in some feathers). For more information, please check out our Albanism and Leucism page (https://feederwatch.org/color_variant/albinism-and-leucism/).
-Holly Faulkner, Project Assistant
I have one as well at my feeder. White nape is very well defined. Burns Harbor indiana
I have one in my feeder in Essexville, MI.
Hi Carole from Essexville! I’m from Bay City so know your town well. I’ve lived in New Hampshire since 2002. I just saw one of these white necked juncos here at my home in the White Mountains, flocking with all the regular looking juncos.
A small stretch of road through the country between Manchester Tennessee and Murphreesboro Tennessee is where I have often seen this dark bird with the white ring around it’s neck and I’ve also tried to identify the little fellow! What ever it is or if it’s a genetic quirk, it certainly appears to be all over the US !
I saw one this morning sitting on the dead flowers poking at the seed heads. It didn’t have a complete white ring around the head just at the back of the neck.
I have one with a white neck ring feeding from the ground as are regular dark eyed juncos. Ontario, Canada
Saw this pretty bird in my backyard this morning in Hoover, Alabama. Also just had the ring on the back of his neck.
Yup … have had one visiting our feeder (Western Massachusetts) for the past few days. Never saw, or noticed one before. Seems to get along with the regulars, curious.
Got a white-necked junco that’s been hanging around our feeder since January. Swans Island, Maine.
I just saw one outside my patio door …
I’m in northern lower peninsula of Michigan
As an avid winter wild bird feeder, I just observed one but it has another small white stripe behind the neck ring plus the legs are more yellow. I live outside Antigonish, NS. Also couldn’t identify until I found this site. Interesting how wide spread this phenomenon is.
We had one at our feeder this morning in Whitingham, Vermont
This is definitely the bird we saw in our backyard this morning. 3/27/202
I’ll throw my sighting into the mix just in case anybody’s counting. Noted today at Cromwell Valley Park in Hampton, Maryland, just northeast of Towson. Dropped from some low bushes onto the grassy trail. May 16, 2020, sunny, 75 degrees (F), light to moderate breeze, plenty of humans and dogs around. If I had known it was an oddity I would have tried to snap a photo, but it looked strikingly similar to the original poster’s photo.
Hi Carl, we can only take data that is submitted to our citizen science projects. Since Project FeederWatch only runs from November until April each year, we suggest reporting sightings to eBird in the meantime. Note also that this white coloration on birds is likely due to leucism or albinism. You can learn more about color variants here.
I live in Maryland as well, and I just saw this exact bird with the white ringed neck on my tree here in Carroll county. I have been searching for the name of it when I stumbled across this post. I only started bird watching recently, I’m glad to see that we have the same kind of guy flying around
I saw a 9” sleek black bird with 1/4” white ring neck on June 10th at my feeders in South Portland Maine. It’s not a Junco b/c it’s bigger and slender! What is this?
Hi, you might be seeing a Common Grackle, or another blackbird species. White feathers on a bird often are the result of a pigment abnormality. You can learn more about color variants on this webpage. There are no birds in North America that are all black with a white ring around their neck, so your bird likely just has some feathers that are lacking pigment.
Saw one today on low hanging branch on a lake in Granby CT! Couldn’t identify it from any of my bird books. It was gray with a white ring on the neck and underneath the tail which it flipped constantly. When it flew off the underside had a gray/bluish coloring.
We saw one yesterday in Big Lake, Alaska.
Thank you for the pictures above to help us identify this is the same bird. My phone picture was not good quality.
I saw one in my backyard in Sacramento, CA. I would love to identify it.
This morning on top of the patio umbrella on our dock I saw a flash of something, then it flew off. Then, it came back. Got my binoculars and was so thrilled by that white stripe! Got a close look at the beak, pretty long. I called my husband, and just after he saw it, it dove into the pond and caught something. He flew into a tree and we saw him no more. I think his breast was white too. Does this sound as if it’s the same bird as all of you have seen?
Forgot to say, we live in Mandeville, LA,
Just had one in my feeder for the 1st time. I’m in southern Wisconsin.
A dark eyed junco mating pair here in Eagle River, Alaska. female has partial symmetrical white markings on sides of neck. Not on back or front of neck. Sorry, no photo.
I have a bird at my feeder that I’m having trouble identifying too. Medium size gray bird with a white ring around the neck, very strong pointed beak like you’d see on a woodpecker. Killdeer? Junco? Nothing seems to match, the beak on them is wrong. Only saw him once but I’ll keep looking and hopefully get a picture
Hi Gene, You might be seeing a Gray Catbird, a species which tends to spend most of their time in dense brush. Here are some photos. In any case, white markings on a birds that otherwise fits a species description (like the junco above) is usually the result of a pigment anomaly, such as leucism or albinism. You can learn more about these color variants here.
Holly, is it possible to think that if so many others are also seeing this bird, with the same white stripe around the neck and only around the neck…. That it might just be a breed of Junco that hasn’t been labeled or identified yet? They are finding new species of animals/birds/insects all of the time. To see all of these other people describing the same kind of bird (with the white striped neck) – I can’t help but think there is something else going on here. If it was albinoism or other color variations like you said, isn’t it odd that it’s all a white ring around the neck on each bird?
Hi, thanks for reaching out! Species and subspecies are designated separately based on a variety of factors, including differences in song, behavior, genetics, and more. These are not a new subspecies; rather, it’s simply a common place on the bird for leucism to occur. Without getting too into-the-weeds about genetics, there are certain mutations/abnormalities that are more likely to happen on certain body parts because those mutations/abnormalities affect certain chromosomes or genes that, in turn, affect those specific parts of the bird. It could be that leucism is simply more likely to happen to those particular neck feathers than other parts of the bird. However, to even begin branching of as a separate species/subspecies, those leucistic individuals would need to be isolated and then breed within themselves for many, many generations, and develop different habits/behaviors/etc. than the originals. Thinking along different lines, consider a Jack Russell terrier that has a large brown spot over its eye – it may be that many individual dogs have brown fur in that same place, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that those with brown spots around their eye are a separate breed. Keep in mind also that this gallery is more likely to show unusual feather patterns, but in reality, finding leucism like this is quite uncommon, and similar-looking individuals rarely get to interact with each other.
We’re seeing a bird that appears to be a junco with a white collar too. We often see color variations but this one is quite unusual.
A junco with a white ring, similar to the photo, but with a narrower white ring, was at my feeder in south coastal British Columbia this morning. Other juncos were also on the feeder, but on the opposite side.
I just saw a female dark-eyed junco (slate-colored variant) with a white band around her neck feeding on the ground with other juncos in Blairsville, GA.
Thanks Holly Grant for explaining this is a color variant. To add to the sightings list, this white-ringed-neck Junco has been appearing regularly at our feeder, just south of Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Saw one last week Warwick County Park Pennsylvania. Thanks for posting I was stamped with the white ringed neck.
I SAW ONE IN WAUSAU, WI JUST A WEEK AGO. NEVER SAW A BIRD LIKE THIS BEFORE.
I’m pretty sure that’s what we’ve been seeing in our backyard near Newark, Delaware.
One has been visiting our dock for the last week. Black head with long beak and tuft at top like a woodpecker,thick white ring around neck, white breast and grey body. We’re in southeastern Ontario, Canada
I found this thread after I googled to try to identify a bird that I saw in flight on 8/28/2022 near Zionsville, Indiana. The white neck ring on the black/dark gray body was wide and prominent. The bird looked just like the picture shown except that the ring was completely unbroken. Of course, I could not positively vouch for the side of the bird that I could not see, but as it rose, I could see the top, bottom and the side towards me. The uniformity of the black and white and the stark contrast reminded me of an Eastern Kingbird–but, of course, a completely different pattern.
To add to my previous comment, I just realized August in Indiana is at least two months early for Dark-eyed Juncos to appear.
I just had one exactly like the one pictured above. This one was feeding in our lawn with about ten regular looking Juncos. I took some pictures. We always have Juncos at our feeder in the winter. Our feeders aren’t up yet because of bear and deer. I’m glad I found this group.
Holly Faulkner, this one looks like a Junco and is smaller than a Catbird or Grackle. It is also with a group of Juncos. It’s also interesting that so many people have seen the same distinct white collar. I wish we could post pictures.
I am in south central NH.
Hello Shawn, thank you for reaching out! The species pictured is indeed a Dark-eyed Junco with what looks to be leucism or some form of albinism.
Saw one this morning near my feeder. Searched online to ID it. Certainly not in my bird books. Thank you for posting this picture. Cincinnati Ohio November 13, 2022.
I saw one for the first time today in North Central Massachusetts. Seems to be hanging around the feeder with the other juncos.
We have had these at our feeder for the past 8 months on and off in Halifax Nova Scotia. got some blurry pictures and asked around but nobody knew what they were except that they were very similar to juncos.
I live in western Washington and juncos are year round residents here and I see them on almost a daily basis. I’ve lived here for 18 years and today was the first time I saw a junco with a white band on the neck. It was feeding on seed I had put out with a group of other juncos.
Northern Arizona here. I have one ground feeding with a flock of Juncos.
March 18, 2023
I have one lone one at my feeder in Lake City Fl. First for us!
I just saw this bird around my feeders yesterday and it totally confused me. I’d never seen one before. I do have juncos a lot. I did think it was in the same family tho.
Thank you for posting.
I’m in Lisbon, Maine
White neck junco at my feeder northern Minnesota , must be a miss coloration. 🪶
Also Trying to identify a white ringed black bird. In WV on Ohio River. Just saw it dive into water twice to catch minnows?
I just saw this bird today in Leawood, Kansas for the first time. It was black, had a white ring around its neck, and a white belly. Its tail feathers had white tips.
I’ve got one here in Montpelier VT. Thought at first that he was a white necked crow. Seems to be around when others crowd are around.
Saw the white ringed neck black bird in the Cascadilla Gorge on the Cornell Campus back in July. It was flying in the gorge and landed on a tree branch. I’ve looked through books and guides and apps and have found nothing that would be local, only birds from other countries that appear to be what I saw.
It’s been killing me that this is unsolved. I find it hard to believe that it’s leucism or albinism when clearly so many have seen it elsewhere.
Hopefully, someone from the Lab will take some interest in this mystery and go walk along the gorge and see it too.
Hello Holly, thank you for reaching out. I can see why you may think this when so many have seen it elsewhere, however, it’s simply a common place on the bird for leucism to occur. Without getting too into-the-weeds about genetics, there are certain mutations/abnormalities that are more likely to happen on certain body parts because those mutations/abnormalities affect certain chromosomes or genes that, in turn, affect those specific parts of the bird. It could be that leucism is simply more likely to happen to those particular neck feathers than other parts of the bird. However, to even begin branching of as a separate species/subspecies, those leucistic individuals would need to be isolated and then breed within themselves for many, many generations, and develop different habits/behaviors/etc. than the originals. Thinking along different lines, consider a Jack Russell terrier that has a large brown spot over its eye – it may be that many individual dogs have brown fur in that same place, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that those with brown spots around their eye are a separate breed. Keep in mind also that this gallery is more likely to show unusual feather patterns, but in reality, finding leucism like this is quite uncommon, and similar-looking individuals rarely get to interact with each other.
I’ve been seeing one of these in New York State on the Grand Central-bound train past Tarrytown. It looks bigger than a junco and appears to be a seabird as it’s next to the water, but same — black body, white ringed neck, cannot get a positive ID. Thought I was seeing things the first time as it was in flight, but now I’ve seen it perched.
I just saw one in my backyard with several other dark eyed juncos. Someone pointed me to this thread for identification. It looks exactly like the one pictured! South suburbs of Pittsburgh.
A dark eyed junco with a thin white ring around its neck just visited my suet block in south coastal BC. The bird was alone, and fed while another bird lined up on the deck rail, waiting for its turn.
If it returns, I will try to get a photo
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