Half-white blackbird ruffles feathers in Donegal

The bird has a rare genetic condition called leucism

An unusual bird is ruffling feathers with residents on a Co Donegal housing estate.

The bird arrived in recent days into gardens at Mountaintop in Letterkenny. It looked like it was a blackbird apart from one small thing – it was half white.

Residents sent pictures of the bird to Birdwatch Ireland to find out what it was, and Niall Hatch solved the mystery in seconds.It turns out the bird is indeed a blackbird, but it has a genetic condition called leucism.

Mr Hatch says the condition causes birds to lack normal pigmentation in some of its feathers and so it appears white.


“It is rare, but we do get a few reports of it each year. It can occur in pretty much any species, but for some reason seems to be most frequent, though still very rare, in blackbirds.”