Rare Albino Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Many thanks to Caroline Haines, the director of Pathways for Children, for forwarding the photos of the rare albino Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris). The photos were shot by Kevin Shank and four of his sons over a several day period in late August. Caroline has a love for butterflies and birds, and nature in general, and brings her passion to the programing provided for the children at Pathways.

The above photos were taken in Virginia at the beginning of the hummingbird’s annual southward migration; it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that we may see an albino hummingbird visiting our Cape Ann feeders and flowers as we are in the same migratory corridor.

A true albino hummingbird, as is the above bird, has snowy white plumage and it’s eyes, legs, and bill are pink. True albinos are extraordinarily rare. Leucistic hummingbirds are still rare but are seen more often than true albions. Like the common Ruby-throated Hummingbird, leucistic forms have black, feet, bills, and eyes, but their feathers are some version of white, gray, buffy, and tan; not the typical shades of green.

Leucistic form and common Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

Image courtesy Hilton Pond Center.

4 comments

  • WOW! Thanks for these.

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  • I have never seen an albino hummingbird!! That is incredible. Were these photos taken on Cape Ann? I’m just curious where you saw the albino bird. Fascinating. Thanks for sharing the photos – they’re terrific.

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  • Beautiful. I’ve never seen an albino hummingbird either. It looks like a tiny, fast moving, long beaked dove.

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  • What a stunningly beautiful bird. I’ve watched my back yard hummingbirds for years and have had a hummingbird bander come to my home a few times each summer to trap, weigh, measure and band the birds for migration and behavior information. One of the birds banded at my home in Michigan a couple of summers ago was found in Yantis, Texas later that fall. I hope this albino makes its way to Cape Ann. It’s truly beautiful!

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