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Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 26(3): 207–209. SHORT-COMMUNIC ARTICLE ATION September 2018 A completely leucistic Rufous-bellied Thrush (Turdus rufiventris) breeding successfully in central-east Argentina 1, 2 1 1 1 Martín Alejandro Colombo , Exequiel Gonzalez , Adrián Jauregui & Luciano Noel Segura Sección Ornitología, Museo de La Plata, Universidad Nacional de La Plata. Paseo del Bosque s/n (B1900FWA), La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Corresponding author: email@example.com Received on 26 September 2017. Accepted on 10 May 2018. ABSTRACT: Leucism is a color aberration characterized by the absence of pigmentation which can either be partial or complete. Abnormally colored birds have reduced chances of survival and mating success compared to normally colored individuals. We present a documented record of a complete leucistic adult Rufous-bellied Thrush (Turdus rufiventris) breeding successfully in Cariló, central- east Argentina. In the winter of 2016 we observed a completely white thrush. In the subsequent spring we observed it collecting food and delivering it to two fledglings, which were normally colored. The adult thrus h survived its own post-fledging period despite its increased predation risk due to conspicuousness, managed to get a breeding pair and breed successfully. Since reports of abnormally colored birds breeding in wild populations are rare, we emphasize the importance of making this information available. KEY-WORDS: color abnormalities, leucism, Neotropic, plumage coloration, reproductive biology. Color abnormalities are well known phenomena in we provide evidence that a completely leucistic bird birds, although most cases are not described in literature could survive a full winter and breed successfully despite (Gonçalvez-Jr. et al. 2008). Leucism produces individuals the potential disadvantages produced by the absence of with white feathers, and this condition can either be partial pigmentation. or complete (totally white plumage), in which case it can Observations occurred while carrying out a bird be mistaken for albinism (a complete lack of melanin, survey in Cariló, Buenos Aires province, Argentina o o including feathers, bill, legs and eyes) (van Grouw 2013). (37 09'S; 56 54'W) between 2016 and 2017. The area is Adult leucistic birds are rarely found in the wild (Bensch a semi-urban touristic beach with abundant exotic forest et al. 2000), as they usually have a lower survival rate plantations, mainly dominated by Pinus spp. On 26 and compared to normally colored individuals (Møller et al. 27 June 2016 (winter in the southern hemisphere) we 2013). These birds may suffer harassment by conspecifics observed on multiple occasions a completely leucistic and they can have deficiencies in how t hey reflect solar Rufous-bellied Thrush (Turdus rufiventris) foraging energy during early development stages (Slagsvold et al. alongside conspecifics. The specimen was seen on the 1988, Konter 2015). They are also prone to predation street and inside house gardens surrounded by hedges. due to their conspicuousness (Santos 1981, Slagsvold Four months later, during the immediate spring (10 et al. 1988, Gonçalvez-Jr. et al. 2008) and, since avian October 2016), we observed the specimen in the same sexual selection is linked to coloration in most species area collecting worms on the ground (Fig. 1A) and (Hill 2006), their mating success is usually compromised delivering them to a house garden hedge. We searched (Truax & Siegel 1982). Besides visual perception of color, on the shrubs and detected two Rufous-bellied Thrush the lack of pigments also affects the structural properties fledglings among the branches, which had no signs of of feathers (Bortolotti 2006). In this sense, Burtt-Jr. color aberrations (Fig. 1B). The next day we went back (1986) demonstrated that feathers containing melanin to carefully survey the area and again found the two could resist abrasion for longer periods of time than white fledglings and an abandoned Rufous-bellied Thrush nest feathers, and Schreiber et al. (2006) reported an albino (an open nest made up of twigs, mud and leaves), placed bird that could complete its nestling stage, but one year deep inside an Oleander (Nerium oleander) shrub in a after fledging it was unable to fly due to a high degree hedge between two properties (nest height: 1.9 m). Due of degradation in all its feathers. In this communication, to the remaining fecal sacs under the nest, we assumed Leucistic Turdus rufiventris bree ding succesfully Colombo et al. a major factor in sexual selection, as they found that Japanese Quail (Coturnix japonica) males avoided mating with leucistic and albino females, and this preference disappeared when those females were painted dark (see also Parker et al. 2003, Galván & Møller 2009). Our thrush mated and bred successfully despite all the potential disadvantages and the reduced fitness induced by complete leucism, indicating that this aberrant condition was not an obstacle for its own survival, nor for its offspring. Since finding complete leucistic adult birds is unusual in wild populations, we emphasize the importance of making this type of information available, especially if it provides insights about the reproductive fitness of leucistic individuals, in or der to better understand the ecological and evolutionary significance of these types of color abnormalities. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS We thank Fundación Cariló for inviting us to carry out the field bird monitoring in Cariló. We especially thank Claudia Chacón and Ángel Torres for their valuable contribution to the field work. We also thank Alejandro Lamarque, Tom Lansley and Colin Tiernan for helpful comments to improve the English writing. L.N.S. is a CONICET Research Fellow. Figure 1. Leucistic Rufous-bellied Thrush (Turdus rufiventris) collecting worms on the ground in Cariló, central-east REFERENCES Argentina (A) and one of its fledglings observed in the nesting site (B). Photo author: Martín A. Colombo. 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Ornithology Research – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 1, 2018
Keywords: color abnormalities; leucism; Neotropic; plumage coloration; reproductive biology
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