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Wednesday, 26 August 2009

'Leucism' in buntings


Grahame Walbridge has very kindly responded to my comments relating to yesterday's Landguard Ortolan Bunting and in this context, I reverse my view and agree that it is just as likely to be a genuine vagrant as an escape from captivity where perhaps more of these plumage aberrations occur.

Hi Lee,
I have just seen the images of yesterdays leucistic Ortolan at Landguard. An amazing looking bird but undoubtedly an Ortolan, in my view. I gather it was calling typically. Not sure why you would consider it a likely escape though?

This brings to mind a very washed-out example that Richard Cockram and I found in the Bill quarry on 12th October 2007. The bird, which was not as pale/unmarked as the Languard individual, virtually lacked all yellow, olive and russet tones to its plumage.

Some years ago there was a resident leucistic (white) male Corn Bunting at the Bill which, I recall, may have succumbed to a Merlin. I would have to go through my notebooks to find out which year since there appears to be no mention of it any PBO report!

Cheers, Grahame Walbridge.