West Seattle wildlife sighting: White crow (or albino?)

Thanks to Bob Venezia for sharing the photo – he reports seeing that crow near Lincoln Park before noon today. Is it albino, or “just” white? Experts explain there is a difference. We learned a bit about non-black crows back in 2008, when “Leucy” the leucistic crow appeared in this WSB story (that bird died the next year on our record 103-degree day). Has anyone seen this bird before?

11 Replies to "West Seattle wildlife sighting: White crow (or albino?)"

  • westseattledood July 20, 2014 (3:07 pm)

    Beautiful bird. Fly long and high.

    Sorry to say I haven’t spyed this lovely creature yet. Whenever I do see a non-gray crow around though (I have noticed mottling in colors), I like to speculate/imagine that they are a descendant of Leucy. 2008. That was awhile ago. Yikes.

  • K'lo July 20, 2014 (3:30 pm)

    I remember seeing a brown crow down at the Fauntelroy ferry terminal several years ago.

  • girlonahandcycle July 20, 2014 (3:42 pm)

    I saw this white crow around Beach Drive quite a bit close to Me Kwa Mooks Park last week but the black crows it was trying to hang out with seemed to be giving it a hard time.

  • Blanca July 20, 2014 (4:01 pm)

    Super cool I remember Leucy (I called her Cocoa) on the corner of Thistle & California with her family every morning

  • Toni Reineke July 20, 2014 (4:34 pm)

    Thank you, Bob, for sharing the photo–and WSB for running the story. My husband Bob was “the crow guy” but he never saw a white/albino one, though had heard rumors.

    Many years ago, we saw a crow with some white on its wings, and just yesterday I saw a young crow with a white band across both wings. Bob had said this characteristic sometimes happens when the crow is undernourished for a period in its early development. I think that in these cases, the crow outgrows the whiteness during its first molt.

    Very cool photo. Again, thanks!

  • Jwws July 20, 2014 (4:54 pm)

    Based on eye color I would guess genetic deficiency in producing melatonin rather than albino where eyes would be light colored or pink. Cool photo nonetheless.

  • m July 20, 2014 (11:09 pm)

    Thank you for clearing up the mystery for us of whatever happened to the “coffee-colored crow” we always saw at California & Thistle on the way to and from my son’s school several years ago. We always suspected she had perished – sad to hear that the heat was seemingly the cause of “Leucy’s” demise. But heartening to look back on the Blog and see how many people had enjoyed and appreciated her for so long. I’ll look for the white crow the next time I’m at Lincoln Park.

  • Kaeli Swift July 21, 2014 (8:22 pm)

    Hi Folks! Crow researcher here with the UW. Color aberrations in birds are surprisingly complex and there’s a number of different categories we use to describe them. As someone pointed out this bird’s dark eyes rule out albinism, which by definition cannot produce melatonin anywhere in the body. The best term would be to describe this bird as a “complete leucistic”. You can find out more about color abormalities in crows and other birds at my blog here. http://corvidresearch.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/crow-curiosities-what-causes-white-feathers/ Wonderful photo, hope I have some spare time to go looking for this bird!

  • ACG July 21, 2014 (10:04 pm)

    Sorry, but I think folks are talking about the wrong substance here. Melanin, not melatonin. Melanin is a pigment found in human skin, hair, eye colors- as well as animals. Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland which can cause drowsiness.

  • Kaeli Swift July 22, 2014 (6:17 pm)

    ACG, I think a melatonin imbalance caused by lack of sleep is to blame for my error :) Thanks for pointing it out.

  • Albinism mom July 24, 2014 (10:43 pm)

    My son has ocular albinism and his eyes are blue. There are several types of albinism with varying affects to a person’s skin pigmentation, hair color and level of visual impairment. Albinism is seen throughout the animal kingdom.

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