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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The White Ravens

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The White Ravens of Qualicum Beach By Jolle Jolles on February 17th 2016 in Animals

Qualicum Beach is just an ordinary beach town on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. What is unusual though is that a considerable number of white ravens have been sighted in the area for well over a decade. Yes that’s right, not just one white raven but a number of them! The white condition is a result of a very rare genetic disorder called leucism, which is reduced pigmentation rather than complete albinism. It is extremely rare nevertheless and even more so that multiple animals living of the same area have the same condition. But as genetic disorders are much more likely to be passed on by incestuous matings, which is not unheard of in corvids, it is likely that the initial white ravens were related.

These great photos of the curious-looking birds were taken by Mike Yip, an enthusiastic birder in the area. He explained that the two initial white ravens formed a pair already more than a decade ago and have been producing many generations of white ravens ever since, with at least 1 to 3 white birds each year! However, apparently the white ravens don’t live as long or breed as well as their black cousins, so it is uncertain how long the population of white ravens of Qualicum Beach will remain.
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Other posts you may like:

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Very rare white Giraffe spotted in Tanzania National Park

New species of woolly sea cucumber named after scientist’s dog
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The blog about unusual animals, nature explorations, and the latest scientific discoveries about our natural world. Design and writings by Jolle Jolles, Zoologist at the University of Cambridge.
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