Is it an omen from Game of Thrones or a genetic anomaly? Well, it’s most likely the latter.
The beautiful bird was spotted by Reddit user Sandwich_Queen_ earlier this week who posted the video of the crow flitting from branch to fence and back again. The post’s description reports the bird was spotted in Surrey’s Bear Creek Park.
Some noted the crow isn’t bright white like animals with albinism appear, pointing to another lesser-known genetic condition known as leucism.
The difference? According to the website Birds & Blooms, albino birds lack the colour pigment melanin but in some cases, an albino bird might still have yellow or orange feathers. Those warmer colours are carotenoid pigments, rather than melanin ones, so they’re still present.
On the other talon, leucistic birds not only lack melanin but other colour pigments as well. Unlike albinism, leucism doesn’t completely eliminate pigment. Leucistic birds appear lighter than normal but aren’t fully white. In some cases, leucism can result in a bird being pied or piebald—with white patches across its body.
Because they don’t fully lack melanin, leucistic birds have normal-coloured eyes rather than the pink or red eyes of albinos.