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White robin spotted in Nisswa

Fine-feathered bird is not an albino but has another condition related to a lack of pigment.

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A white-feathered robin with a red breast hops along the grass May 7 at the Nisswa Community Center. The bird's naturally dark eyes indicate it is not an albino but has a condition know as leucism where melanin isn't deposited in the feathers that would normally be black or brown. Photo submitted by Mike Wagener

Mike Wagener spotted a white robin with a red breast May 7 at the Nisswa Community Center. The Audubon Society reports if a bird is an albino, its eyes will be red or pink. The Audubon Society reports other pale-feathered birds with normally colored eyes have a condition known as leucism.

"Unlike albino birds, which completely lack the natural pigment known as melanin, leucistic birds produce melanin but can't deposit it into their feathers. Some may even have partial leucism, resulting in a “pied” appearance ," the Audubon Society reports on its website. "Melanin is responsible for any black or brown color on birds, dogs, snakes, and humans. ...

"Melanin is also essential to a bird's feathers: It makes them strong and durable. The pigment plays an important role in the eye, too, allowing it to function properly and protecting it from damaging UV rays. That's why true albino birds have impaired vision, and rarely make it to adulthood."

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A white-feathered robin is an attention grabber as it moves along the grass in Nisswa. Photo submitted by Mike Wagener

Related Topics: NISSWA
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