17 Photos of White Cardinals and Leucistic Birds
You'll be amazed at these photos of white cardinals and other lovely leucistic birds, including partially albino hummingbirds, finches and more!
White Cardinal in the Snow
“This beautiful white cardinal started visiting my backyard feeders in early winter. I set up a groundblind and waited seven hours to get this shot. What a rare privilege!” says Terry Spencer. Learn the difference between albino and leucistic birds.
“On an extremely cold day in Wisconsin, several cardinals and other birds visited my feeders. I always dream of seeing special birds with unique features, and that day I did. I wasn’t sure about the proper name for this leucistic bird, so at the time I called it ‘white head.’ It’s such a beauty!” says Barb Wood.
Don’t miss these fantastic photos of rare yellow cardinals.
Red and White Cardinal
Diane Atterson captured this photo of a white cardinal at the Living Museum in Newport News, Virginia. Want to see more of these beautiful birds? Check out proven ways to attract cardinals.
“This is the first white cardinal my husband and I had ever seen. It has actually become a regular visitor and usually shows up in late winter/early spring every year. We enjoy him while he’s here. In this photo, the cardinal is sitting in a dogwood tree outside our breakfast area in Tennessee,” says Kathy Hoyt.
Did you know a rare half male, half female cardinal was spotted in Pennsylvania?
“We live in Ashtabula, Ohio, and our son owns over 400 acres and a marsh behind our house. We see lots of birds and waterfowl. When I spotted this beautiful and unusual bird in one of our feeders, I thought someone’s pet bird had escaped. But my grandson who loves looking for bird species said it was a leucistic grosbeak. Nature never fails to amaze me,” says Patricia Costilow.
Is this white bird an albino crow?
Birders are amazed by rare leucistic and albino hummingbirds. “This leucistic Anna’s hummingbird is one of the most beautiful hummingbirds I have photographed. He was feeding on giant flowers at the Santa Cruz arboretum. This handsome guy is without pigmentation in his feathers, giving him the cool snowy look,” says Elijah Gildea.
Marvel at these dazzling images of cardinals in the snow.
White Blue Jay
“A friend watched this beautiful bird eat from their bird feeder. She contacted me and gave me the honor of photographing this leucistic blue jay,” says John Schatz.
Psst! Think you spotted a blue cardinal? Find out what’s going on.
Elaine McCabe of Newport, New York, shared this photo of an American goldfinch that has normal carotenoid pigments (producing the bright yellow) but is lacking melanins. That’s why it looks as if someone took a normal goldfinch and then deleted all the black from its wings and tail. Check out 20 super pretty pictures of finches.
Not every white bird is albino. It’s more common for birds to have partial albinism. “We have been watching this leucistic dark-eyed junco and his mate at the feeders in our backyard for months. They raised two chicks in one of our birdhouses,” says Anne Personius.
Leucistic American Robin
“I was absolutely enchanted when I saw an American robin with partial albinism last fall. Winter passed, and I wasn’t sure if I would see this special leucistic bird again. I was so happy when it reappeared in my yard once March arrived!” says Martha Chavez.
We asked the experts: Do robins really migrate and return in the spring?
Leucistic Common Redpoll
“This leucistic bird showed up at my bird feeder last winter here in northern Minnesota. It appears to be a partly albino common redpoll. This bird was sitting in our crabapple tree when I took the picture,” says Benjamin Sunne.
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Leucistic House Finch
Leslie Bloch shared this photo of a house finch with leucistic plumage, meaning that it lacks melanin from some of its feathers. Experts Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman explained why they believe the bird is female: “A male house finch would normally have some red on its head and chest; that red color is created by pigments called carotenoids, not melanin. A leucistic male house finch might lack all the brown in the feathers but still show red in the normal places.”
Mary Hindle captured this photo of a white double-crested cormorant that stands out in a crowd. You have to see these 50 stunning summer bird photos.
Leucistic Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
Debbie West shared this photo of a rose-breasted grosbeak that’s partly leucistic—lacking the melanin pigment in some of its feathers, so that white replaces some of the usual color. Although it is normal for a male rose-breasted grosbeak to have white spots in the wings, it’s definitely not normal for one to show these random white patches all over the back and head, even when molting.
Reader Karl Kjeldgaard shared this photo and asked our birding experts Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman to help identify it. “This is definitely a leucistic bird from the American sparrow family, but it’s often impossible to identify such a bird from photos. It seems to show a trace of face pattern, but that could be just the contrast of separate feather tracts. The bird also seems a little too long-tailed for a junco; it’s more the shape of a song sparrow. When finding a leucistic bird like this, watch to see if it associates with other birds, then compare its shape, size and actions, and listen for any call notes to better help identify it,” Kenn and Kimberly say.
Courtesy Jim Knox
“One chickadee within a flock didn’t look like the rest! I was told it was a partially leucistic black-capped chickadee. I noticed it while taking photos of some fall birds,” says reader Jim Knox.
“Once, in early spring, I let my dog out and saw a flash of white. Knowing there aren’t any birds in this area of Minnesota that are white, I decided to investigate. On closer inspection, it looked like a partially albino male robin. Instead of flying off, he stuck around for over a week, sitting in the treetops and singing his heart out. Quite an unusual sight!” says Sue Moore.
Next, enjoy cheerful robin bird pictures to welcome spring.