Color abnormalities don’t seem to be very unusual in juncos. There is a junco who sings outside my work building who has white splotches all over him! None of the juncos we’ve caught have been that extreme, but we have found a few with unusual spots of color on them.
SOMA has a white spot above his right eye:
MANI has partial white eye-rings:
And NOLA has tufts of brown feathers (instead of black) right by his nostrils:
I love these little differences between our birds.
A DEJO at our home feeder (near Scotts Valley, CA) has prominent white spots on both cheeks. We call him our “Juncadee” since he’s obviously a Junco x Chicadee hybrid. :) (To those who might not know, Juncos and Chickadees do not interbreed. This junco just has some odd-colored feathers. But we give everyone a name, regardless. Just ask “Squirrelly”.)
BTW, while we mostly have the dark-eyed form we also get one or two slate-colored forms each year and also got a pink-sided form one year. Juncos are a greatly under-aappreciated bird. They are subtle beauties. :)
Didn’t see the name and email fields until I hit “Post”. Kevin Monahan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Neat! I do think juncos are especially prone to color abnormalities. It doesn’t seem to be a major handicap – the one near my work building who was covered in white blotches still successfully defended a territory. I’d love to know if it’s at all heritable. Let me know if you ever see a Juncadee Jr.!
“Subtle beauties” – exactly. Especially the Oregon form (I’m not biased…) with their sweet pink bills and executioners’ hoods.