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Unusual Blackbird with white markings spotted in Coventry

This unusual Blackbird has a plumage condition called a leucism. It was spotted in Binley, Coventry. Credit: Kim Oliver

An unusual Blackbird with white markings has been spotted in Coventry.

The bird could be mistaken to be part-albino because of its unusual markings, but its colouring is actually the result of a rare plumage condition commonly referred to as a leucism.

Kim Oliver spotted the bird in Binley, Coventry. Mr Oliver has been bird watching for more than 50 years, and says it is the first time he has seen a blackbird like it.

He told ITV News Central: "I have been bird watching for 50 years and have never ever seen, yet alone heard of, this type of blackbird. Albino yes, but not like this.

"It looks more white than black depending on the angle and it took me three visits to confirm exactly what it was. I have read that there are no more than 50 such sightings a year, although I have no real idea about numbers."

It took Mr Oliver several sightings to determine what condition the bird had. Credit: Kim Oliver

It's not known why the leucism affects blackbirds in this way. The BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) say on their website: "Leucistic birds may be confused with albino individuals, but the latter have pink, instead of dark eyes.

"It is not yet clear why Blackbirds appear to be particularly affected. It could be that they are unusually susceptible to the condition. However, being black or, in the case of female Blackbirds dark brown, any light-coloured feathers show up particularly clearly. Indeed, several other species with all-black, or mostly black, plumage have been spotted with white feathers fairly often."