Monday, September 2, 2013

A Leucistic Red-breasted Nuthatch

On the morning of August 30th, I birded the back section of Mizzy Lake Trail in Algonquin Park with Tood Hagedorn and Mark Dorriesfield. We had a great time, but one bird stood out as particularly interesting.

This nuthatch was feeding in a large mixed flock that also included Boreal Chickadee, Gray Jay, Black-backed Warbler and 15 species of warblers.

Although it looks a bit like a cross between White-breasted and Red-breasted Nuthatch, a couple of things point towards a leucistic Red-breasted. The plumage, behavior, habitat and voice were all typical for Red-breasted, and the pale bill indicates some pigment lacking, as both Red- and White-breasted Nuthatches have dark bills.

Although many leucistic birds have uneven white patches, this bird seems to be utterly normal besides the pale bill and missing dark eye-lines.

A unique bird that I was very happy to see!

1 comment:

  1. What a neat find! Even its legs are a lighter shade. Super interesting!