White “Albino” Crows

The majority of people have the misconception that crows are black, which is accurate. However, many of the species that belong to the genus Corvus have significant amounts of white in their plumage.

For example, the White-necked Raven, or Corvus albicollis, which is native to Africa and is one of my favourite species, has a white collar around its neck (in addition to its way cool bill).

There are further animals that have significant amounts of white covering other portions of their bodies as well.

Even those species that are typically black may have patches of white on areas of their body, or they may be totally white. This is possible for both of these states.

The American Crow, or Corvus brachyrhynchos, is known to have issues with pigment deposition on a regular basis. Approximately one percent of the nestlings that I band in New York have some white in their feathers, and four times as many of them have areas of white on their toes, beak, or other portion of their body. Every year, I come across young that are abnormally shaped like this, and the prevalence is about in line with what I would expect based on the observation of atypical crows in big foraging groups.

During the course of my research in 1993, I saw a nestling that had a far higher percentage of white than I often see. (Its body was discovered on the Cornell University campus not long after it had fledged.)

Although I have seen multiple young crows in a single nest that had white in their wings, I have not seen white in the wings of young produced by the same parents in subsequent years (but it could happen). There are a few families that I’ve seen that have produced many broods of young with white spots on their toes, but the numbers are so low that I can’t tell them apart from random occurrences at this moment.

One may get to the diagnosis of “albinism” or any other issue with pigment formation in a variety of different methods, the most of which are fairly separate from one another. You may conceive of any complicated process that is mediated by enzymes and proteins as being comparable to starting your automobile. There are a lot of different things that may go wrong, all of which would ultimately lead to you being unable to start your automobile. It’s possible that you’ve lost the key, the battery is dead, the distributor cap is gone, the vehicle is out of gas, or any one of a number of other things. In a similar manner, the correct distribution of pigment in the feathers of birds may be disrupted by a number of different circumstances, causing the feathers to appear white. The abnormalities may be isolated in time and place (for example, a broken cell bed or a short-term poisoning), which will result in white in restricted regions, such as the crow that was described before. If the issue is more fundamental (for example, a genetic mutation) or takes place earlier in the bird’s development, the whole bird may be impacted by it.

Crows may come in a variety of colours, including all white.

In June of 1998, Maxine and Jim Harwood of Piedmont, Ohio took these photographs of a juvenile American Crow that was almost all white. It was a juvenile that had just lately flown its nest. The Harwoods say that they saw two white crows the next day, which most likely included this bird and its sibling.

Take note of the fact that the back of one of the pictures is not totally dark. In addition, despite the fact that the flash made the iris seem pink, it was really pigmented with a blue-gray colour in its natural state.

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