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Partial albino a leucistic Canada Goose

Leucism-Goose--Warren Matthews, of Bloomfield, photographed this curiously white coloured goose recently near Bloomfield.

Prince Edward County naturalist Terry Sprague notes that although many would call it a “partial albino” Canada Goose, technically, it is a leucistic Canada Goose.

“Albinism is a condition in which there is an absence of melanin, which gives color to the skin, feathers, hair and eyes. Birds with albinism are not only ALL white in color, but they also have very pale eyes, often pink or red in color as the blood vessels show through,” Sprague explained.

“Leucism, on the other hand, is a partial loss of pigmentation, which can make the animal have white or patchily coloured skin, feathers and so on, but the pigment cells in the eyes are not affected by the condition. Sometimes any black colouring or dark brown colouring will show through on leucistic birds as tan or light brown.”

Leucisim is often mistaken for albinism, said Sprague, but they are two very different conditions. He added that the more common the species, the more apt it is to show up, given the law of averages. “So you see this condition often in Canada geese, robins, blackbirds, etc, and less so in the more uncommon species.”

For more news on nature in the County, visit Terry Sprague’s website Nature Stuff Tours & Things www.naturestuff.net

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