White hummingbird spotted in Kingsland

Hill Country

A white hummingbird seen in Kingsland, Texas (Courtesy Jerry Bowman)

KINGSLAND, Texas (KXAN) — Jerry Bowman is used to seeing hummingbirds in his Kingsland yard. But not like this.

“I have out three feeders and I usually have to refill every other day,” Bowman told KXAN. “This was the first time that I had seen this white type of hummingbird though.”

Earlier this week Bowman snapped a picture of the white-feathered bird sitting on a tree branch. It had black eyes and a black beak.

Albinism results from the lack of pigment, and many birds with the genetic mutation have pink eyes, bills and feet. Leucistic animals, on the other hand, only have a partial loss of pigmentation, and birds may still have dark eyes, bills and feet. HummingbirdCentral, a website that calls itself “a central gathering place for hummingbird enthusiasts,” says multiple people throughout the U.S. have reported seeing white hummingbirds, including one sighting in Arp Texas this month.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Ornithologist Cliff Shackelford says it receives several photos like this one of a leucistic ruby-throated hummingbird during their annual southbound migration.

“It’s indeed a rare sighting but it’s not unheard of,” Shackelford said. “I’m sure your particular bird will get a lot of attention along its entire migratory route!”

There are 9 species of hummingbird common to Texas, according to the TPWD.

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