Category Archives: white tailed blackbird

I have been getting a blackbird with two or three white tail feathers visiting my garden over the past year. I want to keep a note of when it visits.

Possible reasons for blackbirds with white feathers

From Christina –

I live in the United Kingdom. I live in a semi rural village 10 miles from Liverpool city centre.

For about 4 years I’ve seen many birds of the appearance and size of a blackbird (black with the exception of white feathers on the tail, and yellow beak) feeding for worms on the grass.

I’ve never seen them fly or resting on a fence post, trampoline, or bird bath of which we have plenty in our garden. I’ve also never been able to photograph one, as even through a window they flee quickly once spotted, dashing across the ground between a ground level hedge.

Around the same time, ironically my hairdresser identified my hair although very dark in colour, has developed a pure white streak of hairs at the centre bottom (honestly). Identical to the type of bird in question. Very amusing to my family, who now call me “birdie hair”. But on a more serious note it makes me wonder if it is something environmental which perhaps the birds are also exposed to?!?!


Hello Christina,
Here is some information I discovered about blackbirds with white tail feathers.  It seems to show that the white feathers are a sign the birds aren’t in tip top condition.

Interesting about your hair.  My hair is dark with white streaks as well!  Perhaps we are both lacking in some vitamins!

Reasons why blackbirds (and other birds ) have white feathers :

Lack of a good diet
Injury to the bird can cause a white feather to grow
Circulary problems that the bird has had at the time that its feathers were developing.
The bird is ageing and old.
Some of the feathers do not have pigments such as melanins.

The name for a bird with white feathers is ‘albino’. Partial albino means a bird has some white feathers on some portions of its body.

Note: A bird that is naturally white such as a swan, is not classed as an albino bird

Often other birds do not like birds that are different to them and birds will kill a bird like this (this could be why I never saw my white tailed blackbird in among a group of blackbirds)

Hope this helps. So all in all white feathers seem to be a sign that the bird is not in tip top condition. This is another good reason to put bird food out for our feathered friends
If anyone has any other information please let me know.

Christina got in touch because of this article from 2009
Bird Table News


Another white tailed blackbird. 

I just saw a white tailed blackbird here in Hebron, IL. The bird was all black and had the white tail everyone’s talking about. There seemed to be only one of his kind. It was difficult to see if there were others like him, however, as it was not in my yard.


Hi Char,  I think that if a blackbird has white feathers it means it is not in tip top health.  There could be other reasons as I get loads of people in America seeing blackbirds with white feathers

But here is what I found out a while ago.


If anyoneone has any knowledge they can add please let us know.


White tailed blackbird in New Jersey

I saw a white-tailed balckbird in a flock of at least a hundred this morning, in Manahawkin, NJ.  I’ve never seen it before, and have been looking for other references.


How interesting.  It must have stood out a lot.  Were they flying or not.
The only references I can find are such things as a lack of good diet, old age, circulation problem and injury

Here is a link to some information


So all in all it seems that seeing a blackbird with white feathers means that the bird is not in top condition.

Perhaps this is due to the changing environment that the birds have to live in.

Maybe it is a sign of the times –  the food they eat is not ‘first class’ food.

But blackbirds with white feathers do stand out a lot.

I remember the first time I saw the white tailed blackbird in my garden.  I started to look out for it and it was good to see it come back every day.

I haven’t seen it for ages now. A blackbird,s life is not a long one.



Have you seen a white tailed bird like this



Below is the link to my new Bird Table News Forum.  I have just started it so we can chat birds, bird care and bird feeding

Bird feeding and bird watching can be a solitary hobby so we can get together here – from all over the world and chat.

Blackbirds with some white feathers. comments I have received

I have received comments from so many different areas.

It really is interesting, but also a little worrying as if a bird has white feathers there is usually is, or has been something the matter with the bird..

  here are some of the sightings from different parts of the USA –

J from Manahawkin, JN 
“I have a common crackle with white tail feathers at my feeder right now.  I’ve also spotted a common grackle with white tail feathers and a white band around the neck!”

W from Alvin, Tx,
I live in Alvin Tx and have seen a black bird inback yard every day with 2 white tail feathers.  I am 59 and this is my first”

F from Area not known
On May 4th, 2009 at approximately 4:15 PM
To all who have seen the Whitetailed Blackbird, he/she. .  My wife told me of seeing the bird in our small maple tree recently.  Yesterday, while I sat looking through the websites for blackbirds with white tails, Carolyn, my wife, softly spoke my name several times.  I got up and went to the front door and Carolyn said for me to look in the top of the tree.  Excitely, I turned and made for the camera.  I shot ten photos and all but one took well enough to show the white tail feather and several profiles appear to indicate it is a blackbird, i.e., head and beak shape and body color.  It seemed excited that I wanted to take it’s picture and so it did several poses; opened it’s wings and changed from front to rear views allowing for great photos of the single cented white tail feather.  This is the first of this breed I have seen in the south east or south west or mid west. 

Mary – Williamsburg
I saw a white tailed blackbird at my feeders today.  It also had a white area on the back of the neck.  I live in Williamsburg va

David, Lascassas Tn
Wife called me to window.  We watched birds at feeders. Interesting there was a blackbird with one white feather among allthe other black birds.  I am 61 and have never seen one.

H, Willoughby Ohio (NE of Cleveland)
18 April 2009 
I just saw a blackbird with a white tail.  Down the centre was a narrow line of black but the rest of the tail was white.  The bird was the size of a grackle

S from East Central Iowa,
We live in East Central Iowa.  I have seen, in the past couple warm seasons, a similar bird.  The one here seems to similar in size to a grackle.  It also has the iredescent colors and black, but the tail feathers are completely white.

I have been trying to photograph it but it disappears like a ghost.  There is usually only one and it only appears in spring and summer.  Must be a smart bird!  Just saw it today 4/22/09 and am actively watching for it.  We do have a wetland not more than 100 yards from our home, city habitat and farmland everywhere.  It get good photos I will try to post them somewhere. 

A – 
I have seen a black bird with white tailfeathers in my backyard – noticed it about 3 weeks ago – thought at first someone had glued a white tongue-depressor or something to his tail, but no, his tailfeathers are long and white – saw him take off a short while ago and amp; he spread his tail feathers – definitely feathers.  Went through my bird book and came up zip?????

B from Maryland
My dad saw a black bird with white tail feathers at his feeder.  He has never seen it before and it has not come back yet.  He lives in southern Maryland

H – 
I’ve noticed a medium sized black coloured bird witha  single white tail feather in my back garden.  The tail feather seems to be completely white both from the top and the bottom.  It has been around a few times this spring.  I also noticed it last spring but never see it in the summer, fall or winter.  Any idea what it is?


  • H only sees it in Spring
  • S only sees it in Spring and Summer


  •  W from Alvin, Tx is 59 and has never seen one before”
  • D from Lascalles  is  61 and has never seen one before.

I think the bottom two notes are a little worrying as they imply that seeing a white tailed blackbird  is something new.  White feathers could be a sign that birds are lacking in bird vitamins.

I wonder if lack of good quality food is one of the reasons.


If you would like to chat about it and other things in my new birdtable news forum please click the link below.  Don’t expect thousands of people.  It’s quality not quantity!   I’ve just started it so no- one knows about it yet!  Be one of the first to give it a try.  What have you to lose.

Photograph of white tailed blackbird

White tailed blackbird – a photograph 

Have you seen a white feathered blackbird like this?

Rick from the USA has kindly sent me this photograph.
Have you seen a white feathered bird like this

Have you seen a white feathered bird like this

 A lot of people are telling me they have seen white feathered blackbirds and I wondered if they were like this bird.

The white feather could be  “leucism” or partial albinism,  This is a condition where single feathers or patches of feathers are lacking their normal pigment. 

It has been connected with lack of correct food.  I wondered if this was connected with climate change or with lack of habitat. 

 In the meantime –


It seems , whatever the reason, there is something wrong for a blackbird to have any white feathers.  I will see what else I can find out.



White tailed bird – please identify

White tailed black bird in the USA –  we’d love some help identifying this bird

I’ve been sent some photos of a black bird that has a white tail.  We really want to see what bird it is. Can anyone help

Below are the   photos that were sent from the USA (thanks for sending them Angie)

bird i.d. needed

bird i.d. needed


Black bird with a white tail

Black bird with a white tail

Is this a young bird

Is this a young bird

Angie says – I wasn’t going to send one of them  , because this bird doesn’t stand still and the quality is worse than the others, however, I think that is actually has some white on the left side of it. Interesting bird. I can’t find anything on the internet other than your website on them. thanks so much!


I aren’t an expert on identifying birds, but I wondered if this was a young American Crow or a young American Rook.

I’ve put two links below so you can take a look.  The Crows and Rooks in the photos below are adult birds – so we’ll have to imagine a younger version.

Click here for a link to USA Crow information 

Click here for a link to USA Raven information

We still need help identifying it. I’m going to take a look at some more books.  Hope we get there in the end.

Click here to see why the bird may have  white tail feathers

The investigation has started.   All we need now is Sherlock Holmes!


White tailed blackbird in Iowa

This past week I have had the fun of watching, what to me looks like a black bird with a long white tail.

I did get a few photo’s of it, I hope to get more tomorrow that are clearer. What a neat bird to see!
I live south of mason city, Iowa. Is there any way for me to post a photo?


I received the above comment, have been in touch and am looking forward to receiving a photo

White tailed blackbird – April 2009

I haven’t seen a white tailed blackbird in our garden for ages.

Fleetingly, a while ago I saw two white tailed blackbirds in our garden at the same time.

Every other time there has only been one. 

They stood out from the rest and were instantly noticeable.  I miss seeing them among the other blackbirds.

Don’t know what has happened to them.  I suppose I never will know.  Perhaps tomorrow because I have written this they will appear in the garden.

Or maybe the sparrowhawk has got them.

Funnily enough I saw a blackbird with white feathers on its wing a few days ago.  It was hopping about on the grass verge and I could clearly see it was a blackbird.  It had about three really white feathers showing on it’s back.

I was the passenger in a car and we were travelling very slowly so I got a clear view of it as birds ignore cars.  Sadly, I did not have my camera with me.

 So it seems white feathered blackbirds are around to stay.

White tailed blackbird in America in March

Another white tailed blackbird in the US!
I read that white feathers can mean that birds are lacking in some vitamin.  I wonder if this is so
Stop Press. I received a news flash from Heather –
Heather said,

I’ve noticed a medium sized black colored bird with a single white tail feather in my back garden. The tail feather seems to be completely white both from the top and the bottom. It has been around a few times this spring, I also noticed it last spring but never see it in the summer, fall or winter. Any idea what it is?

Heather, does it have a yellow beak?  Blackbirds in England have yellow beaks

Can anyone help.