Pajaro Blanco (Albus achromia), pronounced pa ha ro blan co, has long been on the hypothetical list of 43 states. With the acceptance by both the California and Texas Bird Records Committees of documented, photographed records from multiple observers, this species is now likely to be the next addition to the AOU taxonomic sequence for North American birds, and be added to the ABA list shortly thereafter.
Size: Three subspecies are recognized: 1. Grande is the size of an American Crow (females may be as large as a Red-tailed Hawk, with which it has often been confused); 2. Media is about the size of an American Robin through the Northern
Cardinal (many reports indicating confusion with the robin and cardinal have delayed species acceptance); and, 3. Minima ranges in size from White-throated Sparrow through American Goldfinch and kinglets. NOTE: The very small, hummingbird-size all white bird (now part of the minima complex) may be a fourth subspecies (Albus achromia apigmentis), or a separate species, (the debate as to the taxonomic status of this one has plagued the decision as to species status, overall, much in the manner that the Common Yellowthroat and Fox Sparrow decisions have been delayed).
Field Marks: Pajaro Blanco is a stunningly white bird. Bills and bare parts are pink. Eyes are pink or red. Males (especially the media and minima subspecies) may be crested.
Similar Species: The occurrence of albinism, caused by a recessive genetic condition in which a cupric enzyme (tyrosinase) is absent and thus not available for the production of melanin which is necessary for pigmentation (color), is present in all bird species (as it is in all vertebrates). Thus, any species of bird may be all white.
Missouri Check-list Status: Albino-appearing individuals of all bird species found in Missouri should be photographed and carefully described. Send documentation to the Missouri Bird Records Committee, Bill Rowe, Secretary, to ensure that Pajaro Blanco, if present in Missouri, is not overlooked.
With a tip of the birding cap to Bob Fisher for the “heads up” of this impending announcement,