White hummingbird?

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.”


~ by Meg on October 9, 2011.

6 Responses to “White hummingbird?”

  1. A leucistic hummer has been at my feeder for 3 days now–what a blessing and I call it my Angel…I have been told that this is the first one reported in Arkansas??

  2. Nice job on getting such good photos, and congratulations on the exciting find. I’ve never seen a leucistic hummingbird, but I’ve seen photos of several. It’s hard to ID hummers based only on shape, but I’d guess Anna’s Hummingbird. If you hear the bird call though, you can clinch the ID in a fraction of a second. Maybe you can get some video of the bird with some call notes next time?

    • You are the second person who thinks it is an Anna’s. I have not seen the bird in the last week but if it comes back I will try to get some video of it. Thanks for stopping by and for your comment. So glad you enjoyed the post.

  3. Very nice leucistic humming bird. I’ve only seen a few other birds that were fully leucistic, versus just having a scattering of white feathers. Very nice, lucky find, and even better job of getting the camera to capture it

    • Thank you for your nice comment. It was a lucky break to have my camera with me. I have seen the bird two times since but only for fleeting seconds. It memorizes me, the way it glows in the sunlight, something that was not captured in the photos… it almost takes your breath away.

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