Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Strange Looking Grackle

This Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) has been around my neighbourhood on and off for the past month.  It first flew into my yard and feeders after an icy rain.  I thought it had bits of ice clinging to its feathers and probably wouldn't survive for long.  Turns out, it is just a teensy bit leucistic.

Leucism is a genetic abnormality wherein pigment, particularly melanin, is not properly deposited on the feathers resulting in white patches or diluted colour or in extreme cases, no colour at all.

I think 'piebald' seems appropriate.

Better yet, polka dot.

And another example of my stellar photography!

Up-Date:  I guess I don't look up Common Grackles in my many field guides very often.  I was looking at this last photo this morning and realized how bronze this bird is.  There are two subspecies of Common Grackles:  'Bronzed Grackle' Q. q.versicolor and 'Purple Grackle' Q.q. quiscula

The bronzed type is the one most frequently found throughout the grackle range in North America.

The purple subspecies is found in the SE states.

More leucistic birds to come! 



  1. Yikes it looks like I might be able to comment here after weeks of frustration with eblogs idiosyncracies. That is a strange looking grackle. I'm over the top on birding as participating in the National Eagles Center Golden Eagle count we (4 birders the other three being top Minnesota guy) struck out on Goldens but I got a lifer... a long eared owl... Yea!

  2. Hey, TB, that's fantastic - seeing a long eared owl. I've only seen a couple and a long time ago.