Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The White Red-tail Hawk

I am always in awe when I drive to a certain park and along the way, I look for this hawk perched in a tree in the distance. I can find him most of the time, given his stark white coloring, sticking out like a sore thumb. On this day, he was pretty close to the road, so I got lucky!




He is not albino in the truest sense because of his patch of coloring on the crown of his head. He also has a just few tail feathers (not visible at this angle) that are the typical rust coloring of a red-tail hawk.



Leucism (or Leukism)
Leucism is a very unusual condition whereby the pigmentation cells in an animal or bird fail to develop properly. This can result in unusual white patches appearing on the animal, or, more rarely, completely white creatures.

Albinism is a different condition. The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is that in albinism the eyes are usually pink or red, and albinism affects the entire animal, not just patches.

To see details, click on picture to enlarge.

7 comments:

Shellmo said...

What a rare and beautiful find! Gorgeous photos!

Tina said...

Such beautiful photos and such an awesome subject! My next to last post was of a cooper's hawk and I managed to get pretty close...but you can send me this guy any time! What a find and thanks for the explanation bwteen leukism and albinism...didn't know that :)

Gardener's Garden said...

Hannibal you got a wonderful shot of this magnificent bird and I never would have guessed it for a Red-tailed Hawk. I am green with envy on this one!

Marsha said...

WOW, that is such a beautiful looking bird! I never knew the difference between Leucism & albinism before either so not only I am wowed by things you show on your blog, but you are educating me too. Thank you.

Bird Girl said...

How awesome these pictures are! Perfectly exposed white against that blue sky! Quite unusual to see and even more unusual to get such clear and close images! You are on a roll, girl! Wow-wee!!!

The Birdlady said...

Oh my goodness! That is amazing! And your photos are perfect.

Owlman said...

It's amazing how different this hawk looks, just based on its unique coloring. It looks like a much smaller, skinnier hawk. It looks more like a Pale Chanting Goshawk (not a US bird) than a RTH to me. I guess white really is slimming! I’ve only seen only albino bird (African Wagtail) in my life, so I’m also green with envy especially considering that it’s a raptor! Awesome pics – well done.