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A surprising Purple Finch

December 12, 2010

Not to be outdone by the pink American Goldfinch featured in the last post, FeederWatcher Charles Makarewich in Kent, Connecticut, shared this photo of a mostly white Purple Finch. The bird is leucistic, meaning that it lacks pigment in many of its feathers. Note that the areas that would normally be a raspberry-purple color still show a pink wash. A few feathers in the wings and tail are normal. More information on leucism and albinism in birds, including additional photos, can be found on the FeederWatch website.

3 Comments
  1. Chris Kelly permalink
    December 15, 2010 11:11 am

    I recorded a partially albino house finch for 4 years in a row a few years back- it had a basically white head. Thanks to project feeder watch, I knew I had seen it for all those years.

  2. ilene permalink
    January 24, 2012 3:09 pm

    I love in a suburb of Denver, Colorado.

    All morning I have been watching a white-headed finch at my bird feeder. I hope he comes back. My camera is now by the window. Has anyone else seen a bird like this? Could be a Caisin’s finch or a house finch. I don’t know the difference. Thank you.

    • January 24, 2012 3:20 pm

      Hi Ilene,

      This is likely a Cassin’s Finch, since House Finches don’t typically show white on the head, but Cassin’s Finches usually have large white stripes on their heads. See our Tricky Bird ID page on finches for more information.

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