Partial Albino White Crowned Sparrow

Partial Albino White-Crowned Sparrow

Partial Albino White-Crowned Sparrow

Q: I live in the Piney Woods region of northeast Texas (e/of Paris). I have several white crowned sparrows at the feeder but I just noticed this bird today. I can't find any similar comparison.

A: This is a partial albino white-crowned sparrow. There has been discussion in the scientific community as to whether partial "albino" is the correct description. Apparently albinism is a genetic mutation where the body is unable to produce melanin which produces color. Because these birds do have other feathers with normal color, then some say albinism is incorrect.
The term leucism has been used to describe birds with muted or faded color and not as deep or brilliant as normal plumage would be, say pastel. But the discrepancy comes with birds that have white patches and normal colored feathers. Some scientists what to call them leucistic instead of partially albino. You can read more about it here: Albinism vs Leucism in Birds

Here's Another Partial Albino Bird,
This Time - A Chipping Sparrow:

partial albino chipping sparrow

Q: This bird was at our feeder this week.  We live in North Central Maryland.  After some research and help from fellow birders I think that it might be partially leucistic Chipping Sparrow. Any ID help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks, Margo

A: Yes, you are correct - it is a partial leucistic or albino chipping sparrow! Below is some video of another chipping sparrow,but leucistic in another pattern.

Regardless of whether it's a partially albino bird or leucistic, one thing for sure is that it's way cool to see! It is rare to see albino birds of any degree so consider yourself lucky. Statistics show that these birds are more susceptible to predators since they stick out among the crowd. It would be interesting to know how long you continue to see this white-crowned sparrow coming to your feeder. Anyway, enjoy while you can!

Apparently robins and sparrows seem to have a higher incidence of albinism than other birds.

Partial Albino Chipping Sparrow

Have you ever seen an albino bird, complete or impartial? If so, tell us about it by commenting below.

Comments for Partial Albino White Crowned Sparrow

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White Sparrow
by: leebee

This eve, May 6, 2014, a white sparrow came to our feeder. It was pure white on breast and wings with buffy color on top of head and black markings around eyes. Never seen before in 43 years!

Thanks for this posting!
by: Tamra

I thought I had gone crazy. We just saw a "partial albino" sparrow (either a song sparrow or savannah sparrow) and because I am not well-versed in bird watching thought it was a snow bunting or similar (which would be almost impossible in GA) until I saw this post and picture. What a beautiful moment, just sorry I didn't have a camera!

Your welcome, Tamra. Glad you got to see one. It's always interesting to see them.


Leucistic white headed sparrow
by: Rebekah K

3 days ago we had a leucistic or partial albino chipping sparrow feeding in our yard. He had a pure white head and neck with the rest of his body looking like a normal chipping sparrow. Got some really great pics of him but haven't seen him since.
Would love to add one of your photos to this page. You can send it to photos @


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