Albinotic Chaffinch at winter feeder in Lower Saxonia

ChaffinchDuring a visit to a hide in front of a winter feeding station near the small town of Salzhemmendorf some 40 km south of Hanover in Lower Saxony, I was lucky enough to see a leucistic male Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) and I could shot some photos of the bird. That was on January 30th 2014. I saw this unusual Common Chaffinch along with some of his conspecifics ​​and some Bramblings (Fringilla montifringilla). The regular bunch of birds at a winter feeder as Tits, Nuthatches, Blackbirds were present, too. The male Common Chaffinch with the interesting color distribution seemed to be a bit more shy than the other birds at the winter feeding . But he was neither bullied nor attacked by the other, “normal” Common Chaffinches. I could see that this bird had apparently normal, dark eyes.

Actually , the goal was to photograph fighting and flying Common Buzzards (Buteo buteo) in the snow. Back in the summer I had seen an albinotic Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) in Southern England in the Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve. The birds was photographed and a short blog was written about it. And again, this Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) with its unusual appearance I could not miss. Images from different angles and side views can be found in the gallery.

In his “„Handbuch der Voegel Mitteleuropas“, Band 14/II ” Passeriformes , Fringillidae ” Urs N. Glutz of Blotzheim describes color aberrations on page 328. Full and partial albinos have been described many times , a partly albinotic with white head and white stripe on the left side of the head survived in the fields at least 5 year ( RADERMACHER , Ber.Heft ArbGern Bergischer Orn 5 , 1984. .) . Furthermore, there are examples of schizochroism , chlorochroism, melanism and erythrism (more details  see KRAEGENOW (1981) ) and also for leukism, see Herringshaw & Hornbuckle ( Birds in the Sheffield area from 1984 to 85.1986) . On the internet in the relevant birders forums (some) white finches  are frequentely shown and discussed. Sometimes there is some irritation concerning the right ID, e.g. a bird which was shown in the VSO forum (Verein saechsischer Ornithologen or Association of Saxon ornithologists) at the end of October 2012. This bird images revealed to be a European Greenfinch (Chloris chloris).

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