Red-vented bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer) Leucistic

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Red-vented bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer) Leucistic
Masinagudi, Tamil Nadu
13th March, 2016

I was lucky to photograph this bird. This is a Leucistic bird. The feathers are white in colour and this is different from albinism in which the whole bird is white in colour.

Albinism is a condition in which there is an absence of melanin, which gives color to the skin, feathers, hair and eyes. Vertebrates with albinism are not only white (or sometimes pale yellowish) in color but they also have very pale eyes, often pink or red in color as the blood vessels show through. Leucism, on the other hand, is a partial loss of pigmentation, which can make the animal have white or patchily colored skin, hair, feathers and so on, but the pigment cells in the eyes are not affected by the condition.

Leucisim is often mistaken for albinism, but they are two very different conditions. So next time you see an animal you think is albino, look to see if it is only mostly white and, importantly, take a look at the eyes.

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