Ask SIB… What is that Bird?

We often receive questions about birds from our members and residents of Seabrook Island. Recently, Jenni sent us an email along with some photos.

I’ve been watching the birds at my feeders for few years now and saw something new today! I’ve attached some photos of this beautiful white mystery bird. Thanks for your help!

Jenni, Oyster Catcher Court



After reviewing the photos, we suspected it might be a leucistic Brown-headed Cowbird, since it is hanging with the Brown-headed Cowbirds, and it’s shape certainly looks like one. We asked for input from SIB member Bob Mercer, Retired Director/Naturalist, Silver Lake Nature Center, Bristol, PA. He responded, “If it were not for the few smudged of brown, I would say albino Cowbird as it has the red eye. Because of the brown, I agree with your assessment.”

After letting Jenni know, she responded, “Thank you! The crowd passed through again this morning, and the white bird was hanging with the Cowbirds. I did notice they have the same mannerisms when eating, same size, same tail feathers. So much fun! ”

Leucism is a condition in which there is partial loss of pigmentation in an animal—which causes white, pale, or patchy coloration of the skin, hair, feathers, scales or cuticle, but not the eyes. This is the same thing that causes the coloration of the Piebald White-tailed Deer on Seabrook Island.

To learn more about this and other types of “unusual” birds, visit the Project Feederwatch website.

If you have a question for SIB, either use this link or send an email to

-Submitted by SIB

(Image credit: Jenni)