Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Leucistic White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis) are anything but exotic in New York City, with large numbers overwintering in a typical year and still quite a few in the exceptionally mild winter of 2011/2012. This individual, however manages to be quite a striking example of leucism with most of the feathers on the head turned white. The yellow lores are made even more striking, and the residual crown stripes are especially dark, suggesting that these things are partially masked by the brown and gray coloration that usually manifests on the head.

This bird was seen on the morning of April 15th in Central Park, spotted by Morgan Tingley, but undoubtedly the same individual that I saw briefly the previous morning in the same general area. Hard to miss, this bird, with such a white head.