Sunday, February 7, 2021

What is albinism in birds?

Albinism in birds: is a genetic mutation that results in the lack of an enzyme essential to produce melanin. The lack of melanin means that the plumage in albinistic birds is white. Albinistic birds usually have pink or reddish eyes, bill and pale legs, as well as skin.

Birds have multiple pigments in addition to melanin. While the absence of melanin results in pure white and beak plumage and pale naked parts, colors such as yellow or orange may be expressed in bird meats, especially on the naked parts of the face.



Are albino birds similar?


Yeah, albino birds look alike because albinism implies a lack of melanin. All albino birds have pure white plumage.


As the lack of melanin does not prevent the expression of other pigments, albinistic birds may differ from each other in the amount (if present) of yellow or orange colors in the naked areas of the body.


Can albino and leucistic birds be confused?

Leucistic birds with very pale white plumage can be confused with albino birds. However, a closer look would reveal that leucistic birds have eyes, bill, legs, and other naked parts of normal color. Albino birds have pink or reddish eyes, pale bill and other naked parts of the body.


A bird that has only a few feathers with pigment or normal color in its plumage is a leucistic bird. By definition, albino birds have no pigment in their plumage.


Leucistic birds are often called birds with partial albinism. This is all wrong. There is no such thing as partial albino. A bird referred to as a partial albino is a leucistic bird.


What is the difference between albinism and leukaemia?


A mutation that results in: Total lack of melanin Loss of pigmentation only in plumage

Plumage coloring: Always pure white Varies from a pale plumage that resembles normal to a pure white plumage

Color of the other parts of the body: The eyes are pink or reddish, the bill, legs, and other parts of the body are pale, colorless. Eyes, bill, legs and other parts of the body are of normal coloration

Unlike the diverse coloration of plumage in leucistic birds, albino birds are relatively uniform. Albino birds have pure white plumage and pink or reddish eyes. Some albino birds show a yellow or orange coloration on the bare parts of the face.


Do albino birds have problems?


Albino birds have impaired vision and physiological problems that, in most cases, prevent them from reaching adulthood. Albino birds kept in captivity are more likely to live longer than those exposed to the sun and other external elements in nature. Those who reach adulthood may face:


A higher risk of predation: Most birds depend on their plumage to camouflage themselves in the habitat they use. Predators, especially hawks and hawks, are quick to identify a conspicuous white plumage and will try to attack it more often than usual. For example, pilgrim hawks who attacked flocks of homing pigeons were more likely to target white or partially white pigeons to isolate them from the flock and pursue them more often than normal or dark-colored pigeons.

Plumage deterioration: Melanin, which is a dark pigment, is an important structural component of a feather. The lack of melanin in a bird feather results in plumage that is not as tightly cohesive as normal plumage, and feathers that wear out before normal-colored feathers. The lack of melanin is noted in the primary flight feathers of the bird, which wear out faster than normal, causing the bird to waste more energy during flight.


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