Who is This Masked Robin?
by Laura Erickson, Ornithologist

Partial Albino Robin
Photo Doug Wilson

Q: The robin in the photo is a partial albino. What do you think caused its strangely fascinating pattern?

Laura Erickson thinks the robin in this photo might have grown these white feathers after bonking into a window. She notices that the white feathers are all concentrated near the base of the bird’s beak, where it would have suffered the most trauma in window strikes. Also, this bird is a very healthy looking adult male, exactly the kind who is most easily enticed to attack its reflection in a mirror.

Laura thinks it is less likely that the bird was born this way because usually white patches in genetic partial albinos cover bigger areas of the body.

Laura thinks this robin probably isn’t very old; other old robins she’s seen were a little more faded, with more streaky white feathers on the face than solid patches like this bird has.