Friday 25 October 2013

This lad stands out from the crowd

Have you seen this leucistic Oystercatcher around Dublin before?

The Dublin Bay I-WeBS count team say he’s a regular, and often come across him during their monthly rising tide surveys. We first noticed him this year on Sutton Strand on the 12th September, and picked him up again on the Red Arches pitches in Baldoyle yesterday.

Leucistic Oystercatcher Anna Valentín

Leucism results in white feathers, due to an absence of melanin pigment. It is an inherited trait, so we can’t know for sure if we’re looking at a single individual or perhaps one of its offspring. Aside from making affected birds more noticeable to predators, the white feathers are prone to more abrasion than normal feathers, and this can affect flight in some cases. And if that wasn’t bad enough, there is evidence that sometimes these birds aren’t recognised by their peers and potential mates!

Speaking of birds standing out from the crowd, when you’re out and about this weekend, keep an eye out for some newly colour-ringed Redshanks!

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