Leucism vs. Albinism

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Leucism VS. Albinism

Image Source: Pixabay.com

The above peacock has all white feathers, a pale pink beak and pink feet , however it is not considered an ‘albino”. Why might you ask? The give-away is in the eyes! 

Albinism is a condition in which there is an absence of melanin. Melanin is what is present in the skin and is what gives skin, feathers, hair and eyes their color. Vertebrates with albinism are not only white (or sometimes pale yellowish) in color but they also have very pale eyes, often pink or red in color as the blood vessels show through. Leucism is only a partial loss of pigmentation, which can make the animal have white or patchily colored skin, hair, or feathers. However, the pigment cells in the eyes are not affected by the condition.

These are two very different conditions. So next time you see an animal you think is albino, look to see if it is mostly white and, importantly, take a look at the eyes!

Check out Omo, the rare white giraffe that is a prime example of leucism, not albinism, here: 


4 thoughts on “Leucism vs. Albinism”

  1. I just spotted a red tailed hawk with leucism in Kansas City Mo. I have a photo but don’t see how to attach it.

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