The melanistic titmouse

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The two birds I have photographed here are both tufted titmouses. The one with the copper-colored patch on its side beneath its wing presents the normal coloration of this bird species. The other tufted titmouse displays a form of restricted melanism where the copper-colored patch should be.

Melanism in its most advanced form can affect all of an inflicted birds color causing darker plumage throughout. In the case shown here, the melanism is localized to the area where its feathers would be copper.

Melanism could be described in the visual sense as being the opposite of albinism wherein white becomes the dominant abnormal color of a bird or animal. To help in identifying a possible melanistic bird it should be noted that its bill, feet and eye color will not be changed. Melanism does not seem to have any adverse consequences upon the health of those exact birds.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: