Cornell Lab of Ornithology
52 months ago | reply
This photo appears on All About Birds, a free online bird resource from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Thank you for Birdsharing, and for helping people learn about birds.
25 months ago | reply
The bird in front is the one in question--the one in the rear is in normal plumage for a Canada Goose. Most ornithologists nowadays would call the bird in front "leucistic." It has the pink eyes and bare parts of a true albino, but there is a small trace of melanin coloring a very few feathers--I see only three feathers with any pigment at all.
Regardless, it is decidedly NOT "piebald." Piebald isn't an ornithological term at all, and its colloquial meaning is "spotted or blotched with black and white." That front bird's few tiny splotches aren't black--they're brown.
It may be a herpetological or mammalogical term. It's not an ornithological one. And the bird has three feathers, mostly hidden, of the odd color--it's otherwise entirely white, with pink-red eyes, pink bill and pink legs and feet--utterly unpigmented. Ornithologists would call this leucistic. I've never heard any ornithologist use the term piebald in reference to a bird. The only animals I've ever heard referred to as piebald were horses and other domesticated species.
Your use of the word piebald doesn't conform to any use I've seen in any ornithological textbook or research paper. It's a term which isn't defined biologically but is simply descriptive of a color pattern with no meaning as far as the genetic underpinnings. It's quite possible that this goose is actually a true albino genetically because of the pink eyes and bare parts. The dark feathers could be from somatic mutations in three feather follicles or to localized somatic mutations comparable to moles in the skin underlying those three feathers.
Member since 2005
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