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Old Wednesday 10th November 2004, 10:59   #8
Rasmus Boegh
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oops Sorry, managed to delete the original post by mistake. Here's another that should say more or less the same:

Well, the real border seems to be between "ordinary birders" and scientists. I am lucky enough to know many top scientists and in these circles there seem to be little doubt that the term "albino" only is used if there is a complete lack of pigmentation, incl soft parts. Leucism describes the various forms where there is a lack of pigmentation, but not complete. Do note that this lack can be complete in areas and still be considered leucistic, as long as other areas do have pigmentation to some extent. Hence, "partial albino" is not used at all. This also concurs with the ideas taught in the biology in university. Furthermore, see "A New Dictionary of Birds", edited by A. Landsborough Thomson, "The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Ornithology", edited by Michael Brooke and Tim Birkhead, or the link in post #2 which includes a brief writedown of an article in the LA Audubon newsletter written by Charles T. Collins... who can't exactly be called a novice!. However, this is where "ordinary birders" differ, I think in part because the term leucistic only entered the scene fairly recently in these circles. Previously, when not knowing the term leucistic, it would be logical to use the wellknown albino in a modified way; i.e. "partial albino". However, then "leucistic" enter the scene and the confusion appears to be total. I am well aware that language and meaning of specific words change over time, however, I am rather convinced that this is nothing but a case of lack of knowledge... among others, I see no indications of this change in the meaning for the words albino/leucistic in the scientific circles...

Still, as I have said before, I doubt it is that important for most people. I assume we all know what is meant if someone calls a bird "leucistic", "partially albino" or just "with white patches"...
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