This morning around 10 am. I saw the oddest thing at my hummingbird feeder. This little hummingbird came up to the feeder and it did not have the usual green color or any iridescence, it looked almost white.
These are not the greatest photographs in the universe but at least I remembered to actually try to take some shots of the bird instead of what I usually do when I see something amazing – watch it in awe until it is gone and then think “darn why did I not snap a photo of that?”
As you can see, this little guy/gal has almost no color at all. Its eyes, beak and feet are black but its feathers lack almost all color and they have no shimmering iridescence like most hummingbirds.
It was amazing to see and when it flew off, I could watch it for a long time. This bird didn’t blend in like most hummingbirds when it landed in a paloverde tree. I could see the tiny thing just sitting there almost glowing.
This photo is definitely blurry but you can see the underside of the wings… no color.
I tried looking up white hummingbird and found there is something called a “leucistic hummingbird” it is not albino since it has some pigment. I wonder if this little hummer is a leucistic hummingbird.
Finally an almost in focus photo. :) Well it was exciting to see.
UPDATE: I got a message from a hummingbird banding person who said. “It is a leucistic morph. We often get hummingbirds that have some leucistic feathers – say a few on their head or 1 or 2 tail feathers out of the 10 will be white. It is the opposite of melanism which is when the dark feathers are prominent. It is not albinism since the feet and bill are black. If it was an albino, it would have pink feet and an almost translucent bill. This is very cool since they are very, very rare.”