The Rare Albino Sparrow!
7 Amazing Images And 12 FAQs

Curious to learn about the delicate white tufted bird? A fascinating treat to view, it's one of the rarest birds! Explore all about Albino Sparrows.

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Iñigo Navarro

July 25, 2021


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What’s this Post about?

One of the most uncommon species of nature, Albino Sparrows, is incredibly rare, not a common sight, and therefore do not frequent you with their charming presence unless you’re lucky.

Though all creations of nature are astoundingly unique, there is something immensely striking about this tiny, white cluster of feathers that aflutter ornithologists as well.

Albino Sparrows have white plumage, lacking coloration. The genetic mutation causes an absence of melanin, which gives the feathers and skin pale white hues. These sparrows have pinkish eyes, bills, and feet. Due to this oddity, the Albinos typically suffer from weakness and enfeeblement.

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All About Albino Sparrows

Not everyone gets an opportunity to glance at this impeccable creation of nature but when it visits your yard or the nearby park with its presence, it undoubtedly is cherished.

Photographing the tiny species can be pretty tricky since it can be quite easily scared away and never be seen again.

Having a birding scope to observe the peculiar bird closely would make your experience staggering!

You can consider purchasing the Gosky Spotting Scope .

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Here’s all you need to know about the beautiful bird including frequently asked questions.

1. What does an Albino Sparrow look like?

Almost the size of a regular sparrow, around 16 cm in size, the albino sparrow has predominantly white plumage. Covered in white feathers overall, the Albino sparrow lacks any prominent markings such as the crown on the head, black bib or patches on the face and neck, or streaked feathers, typical to sparrows.

This white tuft of feathers from the head to tail is caused by the lack of pigment melanin in the body of the Albino, giving it a distinctive appearance.

Apart from the pinkish-red eyes, which are a salient feature of most Albino species, these striking white sparrows tend to lack color pigment in almost every part of the body, having relatively pale beaks and feet.

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DID YOU KNOW?

Sometimes, it becomes difficult to assess the gender of the little sparrow since there are no noticeable male and female markings on its feathers.

2. What Causes the White Coloration of Albino Sparrows?

Albino sparrows have a genetic abnormality that results in an absolute absence of the color-producing pigment melanin in the body. Birds with this genetic mutation cannot produce this pigment due to the lack of the enzyme tyrosinase. This results in the sparrow having unpigmented skin and entirely white plumage.

However, not all sparrows with white feathers tend to be a product of Albinism. Leucism - the partial loss of pigmentation - is a more common cause of white feathers on the body of the sparrows.

Birds affected by this condition can produce and deposit melanin in parts of the body while deficient in other parts. Lack of pigmentation in sparrows results in white plumage, pale coloration, or an unkempt appearance–with sparse spots of white in different parts of the body.

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Leucistic sparrows would have normal colored eyes, and the bill and feet would also be the usual yellow, though sometimes paler in hues.

3. How Can You Identify an Albino Sparrow?

When it comes to assessing Albinism in sparrows, the colors of the feathers can be deceptive. Leucistic sparrows also have a cluster of white feathers in some or most parts of the body or a paler plumage than the usual sparrows.

If you see a white sparrow, take a close look at the bird’s eye to determine if it’s an Albino species. The reddish-pink eyes, lacking any color pigment, reflect the blood vessels in the eye, which makes them an accurate indicator of Albinism.

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4. How are Leucine Sparrows Different from Albino Sparrows?

Leucistic sparrows are far more prevalent than the Albinos. Spotting a sparrow with a few white parts, you might consider it to be a Partial Albino. However, the correct term for such a species is Leucine.

Whereas Albinos lack all the color pigmentation, resulting in entirely white feathers and white plumage, Leucinos are affected by a partial loss of pigmentation. This deficiency of pigmentation usually occurs in the feathers, while the soft parts remain intact.

In contrast to the Albino Sparrows, Leucistic sparrows appear to live somewhat everyday life, like their other mates. Even if not in massive amounts, the presence of melanin in their bodies aids the bird in better eyesight and stronger feathers than an absolute Albino.

Interestingly, there is often a variation in the intensity of leucism on the bird’s body, exhibiting alterations in its white feathers. With every new cycle of molding, the spread of white feathers may increase or decrease.

There’s a high probability that the sparrow you’re looking at with clusters of white on the body may be a Leucine bird. Here are a few examples of Leucine Sparrows.

  • White plumage but dark eyes and bill
  • White primaries from head to tail with several streaks of greyish brown
  • Sizable patches of white feathers scattered throughout
  • All white crown with normal greyish brown body

5. How Many White Sparrows are There in the World?

According to ornithologists, Albino birds are one of the rarest birds, characterized by their distinctive appearance. The White Sparrow is reported to be one in a million species, among the countless brownish-grey sparrows ubiquitously found worldwide.

According to the research findings, only 5 of these scarce birds have been documented worldwide this century.

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fun fact

It is said that White Sparrows appear once every 150 years - what a rarity!

On the other hand, Leucistic sparrows with paler feathers or patchy coloration are far more common. One in every two hundred sparrows can have this genetic mutation, resulting in a distinct appearance.

However, these birds do not have a uniform plumage, with some having a whitehead, tail, or patches of white on the entire body.

6. What Does an Albino Sparrow Eat?

 An albino sparrow’s diet is no different from the regular colored sparrows found in the woods and urban landscapes.

Though the bird takes diligently calculated steps to land on the farmlands, woodlands, or bushes to forage on the food, it typically favors the same diet as other sparrows around it, with insects such as caterpillars, bees, and flies being their favorites.

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A significant proportion of their diet comprises grains and seeds, including corn, oats, wheat, millet, and sunflower seeds.

Not too picky eaters, sparrows, including the Albino, feed on a plethora of available food choices, foraging on the crops and grains as well as tender grass and weeds. Sparrows would often scavenge on the waste to search for discarded food.

PRO-TIP

Fill your bird feeders with these mixes to keep the bird returning to your yard every day.

Here’s a post you can read to understand what do sparrows eat. 

What do Sparrows Eat? Feed Them This to Attract Them!

Sparrows eat nearly everything, thus they are easily attracted. Read on to learn more about their favorite nutrients.

7. Can You Spot the Albino Sparrow in a Flock?

The Albino Sparrow’s uncustomary color doesn’t stop the bird from mingling with others of its kind. Like its rufous, brown cousins, the white sparrow forages around in the garden and parks, hopping around on the sidewalks and landscaped rocks and pecking seeds in the farmland.

Typically, the tiny innocent fellow is not ostracized, but occasionally, it might be driven away by some utterly aggressive sparrows. You’ll likely find it amidst the flock of the normal colored house sparrows, with around twenty, thirty, or even more foraging around, with only one white tufted bird among them.

Albino birds tend to be relatively weak and enfeebled instead of those who have a high melanin tendency. This little white bird may not seem as plump as the sparrows prevalent in much of the country.

DID YOU KNOW?

Sparrows are known for their mesmerizing songs. This white songbird, however, tends to have slightly unpleasant vocalizations.

8. How Does an Albino Sparrow Cope-Up in the Environment?

Even though you can spot the Albino Sparrow moving around other sparrows, if you observe it closely, you’re likely to suspect the bird’s fugitive movements, as it wanders around quite cautiously as opposed to the typical sparrows that aggressively chase away any intruders near their territory or even at bird feeders.

White sparrows are considerably nervous species, trying to stay alert due to plausible attacks from birds of prey. Hiding behind the bushes, the timid white sparrow would only approach the feeding space after ensuring there are no threats around.

Incorporating its cautiousness, concealment, and vigilance in its survival strategy, the white sparrow chooses to seek shelter behind the bushes and wouldn’t fly too far, no more than 100 miles away from its place of familiarity, to avoid being strayed away.

9. How is the Albino Sparrow Preyed Upon?

The snowy, white plumage of the bird doesn’t allow it to swiftly fly around in the wild for long. Whether it’s flying over the taller trees or perching amidst the bushes, the Albino sparrow ends up becoming a vulnerable target of voracious predators due to its striking feathers.

The poor creature has numerous predators, including hawks, eagles, merlins, cats, dogs, and snakes that ambush the bird from behind, leaving no chance to escape.

With their acute vision, these sharp creatures can spot the sparrow due to its white tuft of feathers, grasping the tiny bird and gobbling it, not enabling the bird to survive for long.

10. Why are Albino Sparrows Unable to Survive For Long?

The diverse appearance of the Albino Sparrow brings about a lot of hardships and difficulties for the bird. Its survival is a challenge for as long as the bird is alive, making it incredibly difficult for the petty little bird to adapt to its environment.

Abandoned by the Parents

Being an Albino puts the bird at a greater risk of being rejected. Since the time of its nestling stage, it becomes vulnerable to discriminatory conduct by other fellow sparrows.

The white sparrow might be abandoned and kicked out of the nest during the primitive stage by the mother. Since the white sparrow doesn’t resemble in appearance to its siblings, the female sparrow considers it an external species, throwing it out of the nest.

Weak and Brittle Feathers

This makes the survival of the bird quite arduous as it cannot feed itself on its own. Its feathers are quite feeble and bone brittle, causing the tiny fledgling to struggle to fly.

The deficiency of melanin in the cells of these birds results in their feathers being too fragile, making them incapable of flying higher or cover longer distances in flight.

The weak feathers lack the agility to fly at higher altitudes, making it difficult for the tiny sparrow to maneuver efficiently; hence it remains closer to the ground.

Poor Eyesight

The miserable condition of the bird is aggravated due to its poor eyesight. Melanin plays an imperative role in maintaining the eyesight of creatures, resulting in the poor sight of the Albino sparrow.

This color-producing pigment is critical in regulating light intensity in the eye and controlling the UV rays. An absence of this pigment results in the poor eyesight of the bird, significantly lowering its chances of survival as it is unable to detect its predators.

Predatory Attacks

Out in the wild, the snowy white feathers of the sparrow can be easily detected by birds of prey and other predatory animals. Its conspicuous plumage, easily visible from a distance, makes it a quick treat for the larger aviating and ground-based creatures.

Unable to Find a Mating Partner

Seeing an adult white sparrow in the wild is almost close to impossible. Most aren’t able to reach this stage, and even if it can survive the brutal realities of its surroundings and reach adulthood, the Albino Sparrow is unable to thrive and remains a loner.

Due to its distinct features, it doesn’t entice sparrows of the opposite gender who do not choose to mate with the white sparrow. Unable to find a partner, the Albino Sparrow lives alone for as long as it can survive.

11. What Does It Mean When You See a White Sparrow?

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Sparrows have always been associated with positivity and blissfulness. These tiny phenomenal creatures symbolize aspects of integrity, empowerment, peace, persistence, and wisdom, exhibiting signs of power to humans who get a glance of them.

This auspicious creature is known to bring about good luck in the house. The assertive nature of the sparrows teaches us to remain persistent in our efforts, depicting strength and diligence to achieve our desires in life. Sparrows also indicate signs of joy, compassion, harmony, and friendship, bringing positivity around you.

Just like sparrows are given paramount importance, white sparrows are considered an even more magnificent species of the Bird Kingdom, known to have chivalrous meanings attached to them.

They’ve been considered mightily special around the world, including in countries like India and Russia. These white Sparrows were called dukes and regarded as magic birds. It has been strongly believed that seeing a white sparrow and casting a wish on it would certainly make the wish come true in a matter of time.

Keep Reading!

A one of a kind species, bracing us with its presence once in a blue moon, the tiny, fragile little albino sparrow can be easily recognized by its conspicuous white plumage, which stands out among the entire flock.

The Albino Sparrow lacks color on its body due to a deficiency of the melanin pigment. This genetic mutation affects not only the physical features of the bird but also weakens its feathers and bones.

Facing plentiful hindrances in the wild, the tiny little sparrow is highly susceptible to the ravenous predators and typically ends up becoming their vulnerable target.

If you wish to read up more about sparrows, here’s an interesting blog to read covering the mating habits of sparrows, helping identify whether sparrows mate for life or not. 

Do Sparrows Mate for Life? Birds True Love

Sparrows are faithful birds who choose a partner and then mate with it for a lifetime. Read further to find out more about their love life.

Iñigo Navarro Picture

By Iñigo Navarro

Bird Watching USA

My name is Inigo and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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Iñigo Navarro Picture

Iñigo Navarro

Bird Watching USA

My name is Inigo and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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