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colour variation, british blackbird

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Old Thursday 8th February 2018, 14:14   #1
jape
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colour variation, british blackbird

I mentioned this before but got little response as it was part of another thread, this is jyst general chat from a new back garden birdwatcher.

One of the blackbirds had a definite colour variation. It was grey with no brown tone in any light. I thought I saw it later turning brown but it has returned as a male, beak going orange.

iI know the females vary, one of the eight regular blackbirds here is dark brown and sleek, another almost rusty, another very dappled almost light enough on breast to be a scruffy thrush. Another has a very narrow skull with almost a crest.

This grey male is now darkening to blacker tone but was certainly grey before with no brown tint. My eyes are good with colour and tint or hue and I saw it a number of times. There is another full male that is not as black as the others, on this one the primaries are certainly grey although all coverts and rest of feathers are glossy black.

More than a trick of the light. So if any conversation comes from this, how often dies one see such variation? Could it be diet or genetic?

Amongst the starlings which flock a dozen or so at a time, two are markedly different. One is almost silver, another relatively golden. The golden one is very clumsy, it falls off branches, flies into the fence and even literally trips over its own feet hut seems to survive by being less careful, hangs around longer. maybe a vision defect too.

so i am led to wonder about pigment, genetic variation, pesticide damage. any answers welcomed.
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Old Friday 9th February 2018, 18:10   #2
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might have been a mutation with other defects. today the greyer one got sparrowhawked in front of me. maybe slower reactions, perhaps eyesight or stood out as different to hawk. conjecture now as eaten.
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Old Friday 9th February 2018, 19:32   #3
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Just a suggestion; I noticed you didn't mention moult at all - this (and age up to 2nd cal yr) can have a lot to do with differences in hue between individuals. It would also explain differences in shade between the feathers on a wing (for example). I find that there is usually quite a bit of variation between Blackbirds in a given area.
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Old Saturday 10th February 2018, 14:01   #4
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thanks. probably previous lack of careful attention on my part then if variation is usual.
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