White tail feathered blackbird – first time I saw it

It is about January 2008  that I first saw the white feathered blackbird.  It made a striking appearance at my birdtable.

Blackbirds are regular feeders in my garden.  They make themselves at home feeding on the lawn sometimes and from the birdtables.  They flit between hedge, bush, birdtable, ground feeder and lawn, all the time finding bird food.

It is their shiny feathers that make blackbirds easy to recognise so I remember being surprised when I saw a blackbird with one large white tail feather fly into the garden and land on the fence.

It seems one name to call this is ‘albino blackbird’.

I kept seeing this blackbird and it was nice to be able to recognise one bird among the many that visit.

Because he stood out from the blackbird crowd I recognised him and found myself looking for him among the other ordinary blackbirds.

I still keep seeing this blackbird and wonder how long he will manage to survive.  This is why I’ve started a White Feathered Blackbird Section. 


For the blackbirds I put out grated cheese and sometimes chopped apple and some ground food mix.

23 thoughts on “White tail feathered blackbird – first time I saw it

  1. Anita Briggs

    It is friday 22nd May and I live in a village just outside Lincoln. We have lots of different birds come to feed in the garden but I was just astounded to see a blackbird with a white tail feather a few moments ago. It was very striking and I hope he’ll be a regular visitor.

  2. Trish Post author

    Hi, I was like you. As soon as I saw a white tailed blackbird I really wanted to see it again. It is not very often you can tell one bird of the same species from another is it? But I really felt as if I was getting to know this white tailed blackbird. At one point I called it Bino. Short for Albino. Thanks for getting in touch.

    It seems there are a few reasons why this happens – poor diet, inury, old age are some of them.


  3. Melodie Anderson

    I’ve been seeing a white tail feathered black bird around my neighbors house near Omaha Ne, such a striking feature, I wondered if it was a new species. Are they a Nebraska breed? Hope it sticks around

  4. Trish Post author

    Hi Melodie, Good to hear from you on Omaha. The white feathers blackbirds I have seen and heard of in England all seem to be due to a lack of the pigment that makes their feathers black. It may be different in Omaha – I will see what I can find out for you.

    If you click or copy this link you will see what I have found out (up to now) about white feathered birds – http://birdtablenews.com/2009/02/some-reasons-for-birds-with-white-feathers/

    If you find out anything please let me know.

  5. Theresa

    August 19, 2010

    In my backyard holds all different types of wildlife from the ordinary black and bluejay birds to the woodpeckers (also, the birds from the woodpecker family) to the squirrles and etc.

    Last week I did seen a new bird he was very small as the size of a finch, but he was neon green. I have not found any information at this time of what type of bird he is.

    The other day my husband pointed out to me another new bird which we watch after work. We have never seen him before and now he is learning the yard and all the other animals that the yard holds.

    This new bird is an ordinary black bird, but what makes him / her stand out of the crowd is the white thick strip on the tail. At first we thought that someone must of captured the bird and painted its tail, for that is what it looks like, but after going on line I have discovered the white tail is not paint, but the bird’s natural color.

    We look for him amongst the others and he is nice to see. We only have one and we are hoping that soon there will be more because right now he is the odd ball out of the bunch. Even though he / she has a difference to him/ her and the bird is brand new in the crowd he / she was quickly accepted by the other animal life and his own peers. (Black birds).

    I enjoy getting new wildlife in my yard.

  6. cma:)

    Recently there was a new bird’s nest built on our roof. I’m trying to find out the type of bird present. The nest is made out of feathers and is sort of dome shaped. The bottom of the nest has nothing, therefore it looks like a domed roof. There are 2 black birds with a white stripe around its neck. They hold onto the nest with their feet and sleep relatively horizontal but upsided down horizontal (if that makes any sense to you all). It’s the first time i saw a feathered nest. It’s really nice though. Any suggestions on what type of bird it is would be very helpful…
    thanks a lot

  7. MEC

    Both yesterday and today ( 19 and 20 Nov 2010, Co Tyrone) we saw what looked like a female blackbird getting ready to fly from a garden bush to the bird table. It had a slightly fluffed out forehead, and beak yellowish but not bright yellow. As it took off i noticed a long white feather on the left side of its tail. Wondered what it was?

  8. Wayne

    On March 8th I was out on my deck drinking my morning coffee and there it was!!! A Blick Bird with a white tail.
    This is something I have never seen in Mississippi but it was really cool.

  9. Wayne

    On March 8th I was out on my deck drinking my morning coffee and there it was!!! A Black Bird with a white tail.
    This is something I have never seen in Mississippi but it was really cool.

  10. Trish Post author

    Thanks for getting in touch with me from Mississippi. Wow. We take the internet for granted now, but it is amazing that we can be in touch like this.

    I still remember how surprised I was when I saw my first white tailed blackbird. It stood out so much. I felt as if I knew it. It was no longer just one of a flock of birds – it was an individual and I looked for it every day!

    You have never seen one before. That’s interesting. Let us know if you see it again

    Thanks for taking the time to get in touch.

  11. Pnut

    Today we noticed this new blackbird with the white tail also with surprise. First thought was also that someone painted a white stripe on the left back side tail feather. It kind of looks like a feathered skunk marking, but it’s pretty. Nice to see the new variety here in Cobourg, ON.

  12. Elizabeth Murcko

    I took a photo of a crow with white tail feathers in Scottsdale, AZ in December, 2009. I couldn’t figure out what it was so I’m glad to know other people have seen them too.

  13. Lois

    Have had a white tailed blackbird at my feeder over the last few days. I live in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

  14. CARRIE

    I live in Kentucky and me and my grandchildren were watching a flock of black birds as they feed from under our apple trees and we were delighted to watch what I have never seen before, a white tailed black bird.

  15. Tina and Joe

    My husband noticed this black bird with white tail feather last week (may 2013) in Vernon N.J. He called me to see, very unusual to see this…There has been several everyday since then…our friend thinks were crazy when we tell her, can’t wait to show her how many others have seen them in different states.

  16. ROY


  17. Mr G Rowlinson

    I have seen a Blackbird with simiilar markings as a magpie with white tail , 50% white wings and white neck ,is this rare ?

  18. Andy

    we live in North Texas and just saw a blackbird with one bright white tail feather. I’ve looked around on the web and there doesn’t seem to be a name to him, just a rare blackbird with a white feather! We are glad we have him!

  19. stephanie

    We had a pair of blackbirds with a white feather today June 28th in northern Wisconsin very beautiful tried to take a picture not the clearest

  20. Sue Lee

    Monday 23rd October
    I live in Poole in Dorset and this morning saw a black bird with a white tail feather. Recently we have also had 2 grey wagtails regularly visiting our garden and spending quie a few hours there.

  21. Jennifer

    Thank you for these interesting posts. I am from a small town north of Cincinnati. We enjoy watching beautiful bright colored Cardinals, finches, robins and hummingbirds. One afternoon I was puzzled by A visiting black bird with only one large white tail feather. My young daughter thought it was a feather from another bird stuck to him lol. However after almost daily visits to our back yard, it indeed is his tail feather. My daughter and I named him One feather and enjoy looking for him daily.

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