Rare white hummingbird makes appearance in Hallsville

VIDEO: Rare white hummingbird makes appearance on Hallsville feeder

HALLSVILLE, TX (KLTV) - Hummingbirds clearly love East Texas and its warm weather, as swarms of the brightly-colored little creatures abound wherever there are lots of flowers, or feeders placed for them in area yards.That's fairly common; what is uncommon, though, is the arrival of a white hummingbird around those feeders.

Hallsville residents Scott and Patricia Pasche noticed one of those unique birds on a feeder on their property, and shared the video with us. The bird is easy to spot alongside its colorful counterparts (making it an easier target for predators, unfortunately), and is noticeably less active compared to the other "hummers," though it does finally fly away when satisfied. There may be a reason for that, according to birding experts.
 
There are two kinds of hummingbirds which appear white: albino hummingbirds and leucistic hummingbirds, according to rubythroat.org. They say that true albino hummingbirds are extremely rare, and have a genetic mutation that will not allow their bodies to produce dark pigment, or melanin. They will, in addition to having white feathers, have pink or red eyes.

The leucistic hummingbird, still rare but somewhat more frequently seen than an albino hummingbird, may have black eyes, bills, and feet. Unlike albino birds, leucistic birds do produce melanin, but can't deposit it into their feathers, according to the Audubon Society (AS).

The AS also says that since melanin also makes feathers strong and durable, birds with leucism and albinism likely have weaker feathers, making flight and insulation more difficult, which may explain why the Pasche's bird is a bit less active than the "normal" hummingbirds at the feeder. 

It's hard to tell from a distance which kind the Pasches have at their feeder, leucistic or albino, without getting up close and personal, but for now, they'll just enjoy hosting the bird and all its counterparts on their feeder. 

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