Now this is an interesting one!......
Jackie Thomas, one of our 'viewers' has sent us a few pictures of a bird on her garden bird table, asking us to help her identify it. Almost unbelievably, it has even stumped Dave 'The Wadd', our Warden!!
Jackie lives in a village 4 miles from Wrexham in North Wales. This bird has been visiting several times a day and can apparently be quite stroppy, even having a go at blackbirds, which are feisty enough themselves!
This is a little blurred, but we can see the bird's under-tail/bum!!
This one gives us a clear view of it's chin and chest.......
As you can see, the bird has the shape of a bullfinch. There is a genetic abnormality called mellanism which can lead to birds becoming unusually dark. There is also something where they can become very pale or develop white marks, called leucism. It is more usual for the finch family to have leucistic birds, than mellanistic birds. We have never come across, or heard of any mellanistic ones.
Just for comparison's sake.....
Bullfinch at Old Moor, by Ian Butler. Same shape beak, same coloured legs, bits of black on it, but loads of other colours too, including a bright white bum, which even the females and juveniles have!
If it isn't that, it leads us to the possibility of an escaped bird from an avery. This would mean that there might be somebody with unusual birds from more exotic climes who has lost one. Some looky-likey candidates?.....
The black finch from St Lucia.
The rare lesser Antillean finch from St Lucia.
Even this seems unlikely though, as the only bird we could find which looks like it are from St Lucia and are 'endemic' to the island. That means that they are found nowhere else in the world and that they are very unlikely to be kept (legally) as a caged bird outside of St Lucia.
So, it's over to you!!......
Have you ever seen a mellanistic finch of any kind?
Do you know of an exotic bird which looks like the mystery bird table visitor?
We need to hear from you before we are driven half mad by frustration at not being able to solve this!!! Please comment below (you will need to register on the RSPB Community pages to do this, which should only take a couple of minutes).
We await your replies...... Thank you!!
I definitely think it's a melanistic bullfinch.
Found some interesting links on Google:
www.flickr.com/.../72157623358777377 (this one's awesome)!
It does look like a melanistic Bullfinch and although its not as common as leucism Im sure its still possible.. I think its unlikely its a escapee it just look too much like a Bullfinch :) Pretty cool
A quick google brings these finches up-
Zebra finch: www.flickr.com/.../set-72157624044320537
House Finch : www.azfo.org/.../Melanistic_House_Finch_TohonoChul_Ali_20080201.html
I see what you mean, David. Thanks for the link. I think the mystery remains unsolved though....
The male Costa Rican Variable Seedeater (Caribbean race) looks very similar. However this lacks the distinctive white spot on the wing jimburnsphotos.com/.../crvariableseedeater.html