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Photo Submission

Submitted By

Nancy Weil

Providence, RI, United States


This is a photo of a grackle with white facial feathers. There were at least three such grackles at our feeders at various times – all three have slightly different white feathers, so I was able to tell there was more than one. One has just a spot of them above its beak, another has white feathers just around its eyes and a third has a nearly all-white face. I took this one with my phone camera because it was handy, and then had our good digital camera at the ready later on over the hours I watched these two days and I took multiple, excellent, close-up shots of two different grackles with these markings, as well as photos of a rock pigeon with an odd white feather sort of attached to the top of its beak, but we had a burglary at our home a few days after these count days, before I transferred the photos to my computer, and the camera was stolen, alas, so this phone-camera photo is the only one I can offer.


Leucistic birds


Grackle With White Feathers

Leucistic grackle

21 replies on “Grackle with white feathers”

Michael Gougeon says:

My Wife and I, have been watching a white faced grackle for over a week now. It must be nesting close by for it to be hanging out so much. It likes to perch on top of the light pole in front of our home. It is less than a 100 ft a way, but I can’t get a picture with our phones. He stays just to far away

John Downey says:

One of these visited our feeder a few minutes ago. Two white rectangles, below the eye. The size and shape are right for grackle, but the head and shoulders on this one are not iridescent.

Ed Ewing says:

Never saw one before until it showed up yesterday at McKellar, Ontario. Quite the topic of interest!

Rosina says:

Hi Yes I was looking up if there was such a thing as a white crested Gackle and came across this group’s page. There was one such oddly pigmented Gackle with a white topped head and irreverent blue neck feathers. Didn’t get a great shot because I was in a hurry before it flew away. Might be back. A bunch of Gackles are always around our place. I’m in Cambridge, ON.

Lenoir Wible says:

Saw a grackle with white spot on his
Forehead. He’s visited our feeder
for several days now. After reading these posts I know I’m not crazy.

John Downey says:

Back again today, at a feeder much closer. The patches are as previously observed.

Greg Bowman says:

I’ve seen what seems to be the same white-marked grackle walking in our yard twice in the last week (today is 5/14/19). It has a white neck ring, white band at the base of its tail while walking, and shows a white tail when it flies. I’m in eastern Ohio just south of Youngstown. It seems too small to be a magpie with not enough white. Any ideas?

Holly Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hi Greg, Some birds have a condition known as “leucism” or “pie-baldism”. It refers to an abnormality in the deposition of pigment in feathers. There is some disagreement as to whether the condition is genetic or caused by pigment cells that were damaged during development, but if the bird looks like a grackle in every other way, except those white markings, it’s most likely just a pigment abnormality. You can learn more on our Unusual Birds page. Please also feel free to look at more ID tips and photos for Common Grackles and Black-billed Magpies here if you like.

kevin longo says:

White headed grackle in my yard today below my feeder with other grackles. First time I have seen this.

Janet Legates says:

I have two or three of the white spotted grackles at my feeder and one that is very, very light tan/white all over with some black streaks through it. I have not noticed these in Fenwick Island, Delaware prior to this year.

Theresa Sciberras says:

We get lots of birds to our urban backyard in Toronto (Etobicoke), Ontario and 2 days ago I wondered if there was a new bird in our yard. I realized it looked like a common grackle but wondered about the white feathers on the wings. The white was symmetrical like it was supposed to be there but wondered as it had the blue /green head of a grackle.
Then realized that it is likely a leucistic grackle. Seems so if many others are seeing the same thing.

Theresa Sciberras says:

Following up on my recent comment about the common grackle with white feathers in its wings, it seems as if it is more intentional than random, as in leucistic birds. Is there more to this?

Holly Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hi Theresa, When birds lose tail feathers (or others) in a brush with a predator, sometimes the feathers grow back in without pigment. This may be what’s occurring in this bird. You can learn more about color variations on our webpage here.

Laurel Sims says:

I just saw what looked like a grackle (was with a bunch of common grackles) at my feeder (Southern Illinois). But this one had a white ring around it’s neck. So far unable to locate similar bird on web to id.

Holly Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hi Laurel, It’s not uncommon to occasionally see white feathers in an unusual place on a bird- Please feel free to check out our Color Variants section of our Unusual Birds page, which explains why you might see a bird with these white feathers.

Vicky Dreves says:

I have been seeing an all White Grackle at my feeder here in south Fla. Spotted one in January with just a white tail. Wonder if the same one now all white.

Carol Salomon says:

Last Spring and again this year, we have a grackle with white cheek patches at the feeder in Fort Salonga (Long Island) New York.

Cathy says:

Had a grackle today with a white band around it’s neck.

Jackie says:

Have a family of common grackles at our feeders. One of the adults has white feathers on the underside of its wings. Pied? Northwest Ohio (Perrysburg)


I have 4 fledgling white gold female grackles in my feeder as we speak! Was in shock! They are same coloring as a female house finch! I am totally in shock. I watch birds daily and this is fantastic! Will try to catch a photo. Only black is some striping and under the tail when they fly. WOW

Dana Stephens says:

So glad I found this page! I have a grackle that showed up last spring then again a few days ago (thank goodness!) that has a white stripe only on its left wing. He is a beautiful bird. I have been wondering if it was just a pigment abnormality or some other type of bird. Don’t laugh, I’m new to the bird watching game. Thank you to this page and Holly Faulkner I now have my answer for Whitman! (Yes, I named him🤷‍♀️)

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