Do You Know This Cardinal?


Pretty cool huh? Not your average red bird. I am guessing this is a leucistic male cardinal. Poor fellow. He is not going to be getting the girl. To see this condition in sparrows, see my post, Leucistic House Sparrow – Does it Look Like a Finch?



He was a bit shy and did not stick around for me to photograph, but I knew he was different from all the rest. He almost had the look of a female when in the shade, but was very pale when in light.



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18 Responses to Do You Know This Cardinal?

  1. eulalia says:

    Maybe there is a girl for him upthere… . Nature is tricky

    • donna213 says:

      Wishful thinking since leucistic birds very rarely get mates or even live long enough to breed. The sparrow in my other post was an exception having two broods so far. She has been visiting now for three years and the first year was raised in the garden by a normal house sparrow mother.

  2. alesiablogs says:

    Oh yeah. There is a girl..

  3. Phil Lanoue says:

    Very cool to see this cardinal!
    We had a leucistic Canada goose in our neighborhood last year and it did end up with a mate and family. It also gradually got a bit darker as time went on.
    Several years ago we saw a leucistic cormorant out in the marsh, very unusual.

    • donna213 says:

      I have been seeing quite a few leucistic birds, and even a strange piebald squirrel. I was wondering if it is something in our area – lots of chemical sites here. I never saw them twenty years ago. At the end of our street, they were contending with chemical slime that appeared when they were redoing a road. It took four years for them to complete the road work.

  4. Okay, I’m not birder, but I’ve seen many of these types of cardinals in our neighborhood. I always assumed they were females…thanks for the correction. I looked up leucistic birds and learned alot of new science. Never knew what ‘piebald’ referred to, and learned it’s a less severe form of leucisticism. (sp?)
    Thanks for the bird-lesson!

    • donna213 says:

      You were likely seeing all female cardinals. This one was very pale, almost white in color. I suppose it could be a female, but it looked much more like a male to me.

  5. lucindalines says:

    What a pretty bird. Interesting how in some native tribes the unusual one is deemed a god or at least a shamen (might have spelled that wrong) but in this part of nature they are outcasts. Makes you wish you could take them in and keep them. Perhaps some of our desires to protect are not “natural.” Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • donna213 says:

      The sparrow I have showed many times, even the white one on GWGT, they all had mates, but they were very pretty. I wonder if birds see “pretty” like we do?

  6. avian101 says:

    This one is a female Cardinal, sometimes they have their body feathers a lighter beige. Leucistic lack total color (white). 🙂

    • donna213 says:

      I have never seen a female cardinal with this pale of plumage. The bird acted more like a male too. I suppose it could be a female, but something kept saying male to me. The images were all taken in shade, so I could not get the bird quite as white as it showed. It kept coming up gray.

  7. I hope that the reason for an obviously inreased number of leucistic birds in your area is not a chemical cause … Would be very sad if again we (humans) and our sometimes fatal carelessness were the creators of a new and rather negative, even dangerous situation.

  8. Here we see often blackbirds with leusisme … Some birds look for mails depending on it’s colours but that is not for every species important. anyhow, I like this bird!

  9. The incredible diversity of nature…

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