Rare white starling spotted in southern Scotland

Stunning photographs show a rare white starling standing out in a murmuration.

Monday, 25th May 2020, 1:23 pm
Updated Monday, 25th May 2020, 1:24 pm

The bird’s white feathers are caused by a lack of melanin - a pigment responsible for black and grey colouring in the feathers.

Often birds with a different colouring can be ‘kicked out’ of the group for drawing unwanted attention from prey.

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Caroline Legg, 59, was stunned when she spotted the white starling - and managed to snap photos twice.

This rare leucistic European starling was spotted and photographed by Caroline Legg when out on a walk near her home in Dumfries and Galloway
This rare leucistic European starling was spotted and photographed by Caroline Legg when out on a walk near her home in Dumfries and Galloway

Starlings are at risk from predators, but it appeared the unusual creature had been accepted despite its appearance.

Wildlife lover Caroline was walking in a field near her home in Annan, Dumfries and Galloway, when she spotted the starling - and saw it perched in a tree three days later.

Gran-of-six Caroline said: “It’s rare to see the birds fully white, this is the first I have ever seen.

“I was walking near a field which had a big flock of starlings in it.

Birds suffering from leucism lack the pigment melanin and so appear white

"I thought I saw one that was part white, and then when the group took off in the air and were flying overhead I noticed it was fully white.

“It was the same size as a normal starling and it was with a large group of the birds both times I saw it.

“The group could have kicked it out because it’s a different colour.

"Starlings are prone to be taken by predators, and because it’s white it’s more likely to get picked up.

Leucistic birds can find themselves ousted from a group for drawing unwanted attention from prey but this one seems to have been accepted as one of the gang

“But it looks like the crowd has accepted it.

“It could be sticking with the group for protection.

“Two days later I was walking in the same area and saw it again.”

The mum-of-two, who is retired, added: “It had landed on a crabapple tree we were walking past so I think it was meant to be.”

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