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Old Wednesday 5th May 2004, 06:21   #9
Katy Penland
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Pine Mountain Club, California, USA
Posts: 10,754
Re: a possible "bald spot." After blowing up the pic in other software, it still looks like feathers to me, and there are intermittent black spots in it as there are on other parts of the head. Not that the presence of a bald spot has any bearing on the sp ID...

There's a lot of discussion about what the proper terminology is for birds that exhibit loss of pigment in either the feathers or the soft tissues of the body. Generally speaking, albinism applies to tissues (which is when you see pink skin, red eyes), leucism to feathers (which can occur in patches, in one part of the body, or affect *all* the feathers). There are combinations of both where a bird can have pink skin and white feathers but have normal eyes. There is also a melanistic condition that causes patches of feathers to appear darker than they normally would, or black. And there are at least a half-dozen other pigment-related conditions that can affect the bird's coloring. Most of us just refer to a bird that has abnormal white feathering as "albinistic" or "partial albino" even if the skin and eyes are otherwise normal.

There's another thread somewhere here on the forum where several of us went into this subject in some detail. If you're really interested, the forum's search engine should turn it up under "albinism" or "leucism." Sorry, I wish I had the URL for it handy. :-)
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