How Rare is an Albino Pigeon?

We have seen rock pigeons with grey bodies and colorful necks, but a few colors are rare in the wild species, like indigo and white.

How Rare is an Albino Pigeon? Albino pigeons are rare as there is only 0.05% to 1% possibility of albinism in all birds. You can only see these white pigeons at ceremonies and weddings because they have shorter lifespans due to less tolerance to UV light, weak feathers and bodies, poor vision, and sharp appearance.

These pigeons appear completely white due to albinism or have patches of white color on their bodies that occur in leucism. White birds are rarely seen flying in the sky or sitting on trees.

In addition, few people know about the existence of rainbow pigeons, having pink or green necks and colorful bodies that are native to Indonesia and Asia.

How rare are albino pigeons?

Albinism is a condition in which the body cannot produce pigments due to a mutation in the melanin genes. The melanin gene controls the coloration of eyes, skin, and hair by producing melanin.

It is a genetic disease that passes from parents to the offspring and the next generations. This condition is also observed in baby birds when the adult parent suffers from albinism.

You can identify an albino pigeon with pale skin, hair, and eyes due to missing pigment. They suffer from vision problems due to the sensitivity of their eyes toward the light.

Moreover, this genetic condition is not common in birds as there is only a 0.01 to 1% possibility of albinism in birds. It means that you cannot see white birds very often.

Such birds have white plumage or feathers covering their bodies to provide protection from air and water. Leucism also occurs in pigeons, which can cause a partial loss of pigmentation.

You can only see these completely white birds on special occasions, ceremonies, or particularly weddings because they symbolize happiness and peace.

Some people consider leucistic as an albino, but there is a significant difference in their appearance, as leucistic birds have white markings on their bodies in a random fashion.

You are surely lucky if you have seen them even once in your life because they are rare to see in the surroundings. They are expensive birds and worth around $1 to $1.5 million.

Why are albino pigeons rare?

They are rare because they are produced after a genetic mutation in the parent birds, and babies are more susceptible to high temperatures and predator attacks.

Rare mutation

Albinism occurs due to a mutation in the TYR gene-producing tyrosinase enzyme, which plays a crucial role in synthesizing melanin pigment.

It leads to partial or complete loss of pigment in the organisms. It is an autosomal recessive inheritance, which means the offspring is albino when it receives recessive genes from both parents.

Two copies of the genes are required for an offspring or babies to have white plumage. There is only a 25% chance for a baby to be an albino if both of their parents pass the mutated gene.

In addition, there is almost a 50% chance of a carrier albino baby if their parents carry the recessive gene to the baby pigeon.

Accordingly, there are rare chances of mutation in the gene responsible for the production of tyrosinase enzyme, and mutated genes are not commonly transferred down to the generations.

Visible to predators

Albino pigeons lack natural mechanisms to defend against predators but evolve to reduce the risk of attacks. In the same way, they evolve bright and beautiful colors to keep predators away.

Colorful pigeons can easily camouflage themselves by blending with the background environment, which can help increase their lifespan.

However, it is not possible for white-colored birds to hide from predators’ eyes and are more susceptible to attacks. They cannot camouflage behind green vegetation and colorful flowers.

Their white bodies are visible to predators like falcons and sparrowhawks, resulting in more frequent preying and death of birds.

So, you cannot see pigeons having white plumage frequently because they can’t survive longer due to an increased risk of attack from the larger birds.

Poor vision

They do not have a strong vision and suffer from short-sightedness or long-sightedness, directly affecting their survival rate.

They have blurred vision because the shape of the lens is not normal, and the cornea is not curved correctly. This vision problem is common to all albino pigeons with varying visual acuity.

Moreover, eye problems like nystagmus can occur, which relates to eye movement in a back-and-forth motion. These vision problems are permanent and do not change over time.

Lack of melanin pigment in the eyes or iris causes poor vision due to disruption of tyrosinase enzyme activity, resulting in pale eyes, bills, plumage, and beaks.

Massive culling

Some breeders are afraid of albino birds because albinism is a disease that reduces the lifespan of birds. So, they try to get rid of these birds by considering them abnormal.

These birds can pass genes to the next generation during mating with the carrier female. Accordingly, the breeders kill them at birth before they mature.

This massive killing of white birds can be the reason for not seeing them frequently in the environment because they can die within their nest before reaching the flying stage.

Weak feathers

Pigeons need strong feathers or plumage for efficient flight and protection from climatic conditions, but albino birds have weak feathers or plumage.

Their feathers begin to deteriorate and fall off their bodies with each passing day due to the absence of melanin pigment, posing difficulties in their survival.

These birds have less tolerance to UV radiation because melanin absorbs radiation and protects the skin. So, they cannot survive for long when their bodies are directly exposed to UV light.

Furthermore, they cannot fly away from predators due to weak feathers and are more prone to predation, so you see them rarely.

Do albino pigeons have pink eyes?

Commonly, three types of eye colors are in pigeons, including dark brown or bull, pearl white, and orange, ranging in shades between yellow and red.

Moreover, this eye color depends on the blood vessel density in their eyes, which are responsible for giving a particular shade to the iris.

The albino pigeons lack melanin pigment in their bodies, and the eyes of white-feathered birds appear red or pink in color. The blood is visible due to the absence of eye pigments.

Their eye color can be an indicator to know that bird is albino among a large number of birds. It is not the pink color of the iris because the iris appears white in the absence of melanin pigment.

However, their eyes appear pink due to the presence of blood vessels that become visible when the iris has no pigment.

High blood vessel concentration gives a red color to their eyes, while low concentration of the vessels makes them appear pink.

How long do albino pigeons live?

Normally, pigeons can live for almost 10 to 15 years on average, but albino birds cannot reach adulthood because the absence of melanin pigment affects their lifestyle and behavior.

Most commonly, albino pigeons die at the age of 3 to 5 years because their bodies are susceptible to damage by the environment and predators.

In addition, they live in shady places to avoid irritation on their bodies and eyes from the sunlight, as they have less tolerance to toxic UV rays touching their bodies.

Their poor eyesight is a significant hindrance to the survival of birds because they cannot see the food and predators clearly due to poor vision.

Moreover, they cannot hide due to their sharp appearance and become an easy target of predators navigating the surroundings for prey.

However, the lifespan increases in captivity when the pets get a proper diet and are kept in shady or safe places, like cages that protect them from UV rays and predators.

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