IMG_3537


This is an injured leucistic Red-tailed Hawk. To quote Wikipedia: "Leucism is a general term for the phenotype resulting from defects in pigment cell differentiation and/or migration from the neural crest to skin, hair or feathers during development. This results in either the entire surface (if all pigment cells fail to develop) or patches of body surface (if only a subset are defective) having a lack of cells capable of making pigment. Since all pigment cell-types differentiate from the same multipotent precursor cell-type, leucism can cause the reduction in all types of pigment. This is in contrast to albinism, for which leucism is often mistaken. Albinism results in the reduction of melanin production only, though the melanocyte (or melanophore) is still present. Thus in species that have other pigment cell-types, for example xanthophores, albinos are not entirely white, but instead display a pale yellow colour."

This hawk lived in the wilds for years near Cleveland and had a mate of regular coloring. It's amazing to think that he was able to survive without his camoflauge color. Unfortunately, he flew into a train and injured his left wing and is now in captivity.