Rare white magpie making its home in Clinton area | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Rare white magpie making its home in Clinton area

This leucistic magpie lives on a property in Clinton.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Amanda Nelson

A magpie with ghostly pale feathers is living near Clinton, about 120 km northwest of Kamloops, and a local wildlife photographer has captured photos of it.

Typically, magpies are black and white with iridescent wings and tails, according to all about birds, but this one stands out from the flock and is likely a leucistic magpie.

“I’m pretty confident it’s a leucistic magpie, they can come in different patterns when leucism occurs,” said bird expert Kurtis Huston at Wild Birds Unlimited in Kamloops.

“Sometimes it can be just a white patch, this one is fascinating, it’s almost albino.”

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Leucism is a rare genetic condition that prevents pigments from reaching some or all of a bird’s feather’s, where the skin and eyes remain a normal pigment and colour, according to Audubon. More rare to see is a bird with albinism that will appear entirely white with pink eyes and skin.

“I know it’s been hanging around for a few years and has a partner,” photographer Amanda Nelson said. “They nest and have babies every year. The owner of the property it lives on keeps an eye out for it.”

Nelson is hoping to see the leucistic magpie again and take a few more photos.

"I've never seen a leucistic bird before, I've only seen photos of them," she said.

"It's been very fun observing it, I've seen it twice now, once with its mate and once with a group of other birds. Magpies are usually difficult to photograph, but just seeing it in person from a distance is amazing."

A leucistic magpie takes flight in Clinton.
A leucistic magpie takes flight in Clinton.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Amanda Nelson

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