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Rare albino sparrow spotted
A rare sighting of an albino sparrow
Albinism is a recessive characteristic which only shows up when a bird inherits the albino gene from both parents

Cornish bird enthusiast Tony Hope has been fortunate enough to catch a sighting of an albino sparrow.

The bird was spotted at the Wheal Prosper recycling shed in Lanivet near Bodmin.

Tony managed to capture a few pictures on his camera phone.

The pure white bird lacks the common sparrow's usual brown, grey and black pigmentation.

I've seen thousands of green finches, gold finches, blue tits, starlings, blackbirds, pigeons and pheasants in my garden over time, but never anything like this
Bitrd enthusiast, Tony Hope

Tony explains the sighting, "I've never seen anything like it, it completely fascinated me.

"I've seen thousands of green finches, gold finches, blue tits, starlings, blackbirds, pigeons, pheasants, in my garden over time, but never anything like this".

"It was first thing in the morning, about 8.10am. I was standing in the recycling shed, and looked up to see this pure white bird. I had to get my colleague Kevin to come and look as I was that amazed by what I was seeing."

Albinism is a recessive characteristic which only shows up when a bird inherits the albino gene from both parents.

There are different degrees of albinism, ranging from all white to only a few white feathers on an otherwise normal coloured bird.

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

There are different degrees of albinism
There are different degrees of albinism in birds

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."

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."




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