Page last updated at 14:03 GMT, Tuesday, 22 April 2008 15:03 UK

White blackbird caught on camera

White blackbird (Pic: Phil Campbell)
The bird is a regular visitor to Phil Campbell's garden

An unusual white blackbird has been spotted on the Isle of Mull.

The bird, which is thought to be suffering from a condition called leucism, is a regular visitor to Phil Campbell's garden.

Mr Campbell said the bird was "keen" on a local hen blackbird and appeared to be collecting nest materials.

Leucism affects the pigmentation of the skin, but the eyes remain a normal colour, unlike albinism. The condition is also seen in other animals.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said birds with leucism and albinism often did not survive for very long.

Spokesman James Reynolds said: "It's not as rare as you might be given to think.

"It could either be albinism - as you see albinism in humans or dogs, a total lack of pigmentation... But it could be also be leucism."

White blackbird (Pic: Phil Campbell)
The RSPB said the bird would be vulnerable to predators

Mr Reynolds said both the conditions could impede the bird's success in the wild.

"It way well survive but it will be much more vulnerable to predators," he said.

"Partly the reason we don't see that many is because their survivability is decreased."

Mr Campbell said he did not think the bird was an albino, because it clearly has normal colour eyes, rather than the pink ones seen in albinos.

Some of the blackbird's feathers also have a "creamy" colour, rather then being pure white, he said.

'Ghost-like' white stag spotted
11 Feb 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Twitcher captures Albino sparrows
02 Aug 07 |  Northern Ireland
Park's pride at rare white lions
07 Apr 04 |  Hereford/Worcs

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific