Monday, February 22, 2010

Seen nothing like this...


Alan Gilbertson sent me this photo today of a strange lemon and white bird taken in a garden in Widdrington.

His frist guess was an albino Chaffinch but then changed his mind to Canary. A reasonable enough assumption. I mean a Chaffy with lemon and white colouration? Never.

Look closer though.

Bill - Long and pointed. Canary has short and conical, regadless of type.
Head - Square naped witha hint of crest. There is a demarcation line between the lemon back and the paler nape shadowing that of the normal bird above.
Wing structure - Primary length actual and in relation to tertial length fits. Canaries generally have a shorter wing.
Rump -  Flight shots show the pale bird to have a yellow rump in the same position a normal Chaffinch would be bright green.

And what the photo doesnt show is that this bird has been around now for two winters, I havent known an escaped canary last more than a week! ( I used to breed them when I was younger).

Alans first impressions were right, this is a leucisitc Chaffinch.

A hunt on Google images for leucisitic chaffich showed a few examples but none as extreme as this one....

Here are few more images...

8 comments:

Crammy Birder said...

Almost as impressive as the albino Egyptian Goose at Stakeford Bridge

Dean said...

I 100% agree with Chaffinch. There`s nothing structually about it that suggests Canary (apart from the colour).

Aren`t yellow tinged birds known as Lutino ? Whatever the name is, it`s one of hell of an individual.

Alan Gilbertson said...

As Stewart said my initial view (from a short video clip from a non-birder in the pub) was that it was a chaffinch.

My first view on the day was of a white bird with a yellow rump flying away to some bushes that were out of reach to me. It showed a brilliant yellow rump that wasn't visible on the video (nor any yellow for that matter), and I was reminded strongly of white domestic canary.

After that I never got more than binocular views from a distance (my scope was at home) and the bill and head shape weren't apparent. I more or less lost interest.

I took distant record shots to send to my non-birding friend of "his bird" and in the first few the head didn't really show. I didn't look closely at the rest at the time, not thinking it was worth it. It was the later shots that gave the identity.

Thanks to Stewart for ringing the alarm.

Stewart said...

Aye Dean lutino is a yellow character but is usually confined to Budgies. All Canaries and British finches have two basic types - yellow or buff. Yellow doesnt mean yellow as in colour but clear defined bright colours where as buff is a subdued type. Some 'cinnamon' individuals are yellowish too but they have red eyes. Anyway thats a blast from the past, talking cagebird! Have you ever kept birds?

Dean said...

No Stewart, but my dad did : Canaries.

Emma Anderson said...

Fascinating, Stewart. What a great thing to see.

abbey meadows said...

I used to breed Border canaries...real show specimens, talking about yellows and buffs brings it all back. I wouldn't like to start again though. That Chaffy is worth a twitch!

eileeninmd said...

Interesting looking bird. I never seen an albino bird. Neat sighting.