Rare sighting of white myna at Choa Chu Kang intrigues nature lovers


Sumita Thiagarajan | December 17, 2020, 09:27 AM

Black-feathered Javan mynas are among the most commonly sighted birds in Singapore.

Many of us would not pay much attention to them.

But one Javan myna at Choa Chu Kang got a resident curious for its white feathers.

A Facebook post by one Nesh Wara shared that this is his first time seeing a white Javan myna.

The species is usually black in colour with a yellow beak.

In contrast, the rare individual spotted near Choa Chu Kang Avenue 5 appears to have a mix of white feathers with some grey or black streaks:

Photo by Nesh Wara/Facebook

Photo by Nesh Wara/Facebook

Here's a comparison of what the white myna looks like next to a myna with the regular colouration:

Photo by Jialiang Iswho/Facebook

A leucistic Javan myna

Nesh Wara shared his sighting on Facebook which sparked a discussion over whether the bird is a leucistic individual or an albino.

Leucism is the partial loss of pigmentation, which leaves individuals with a white or patchily coloured skin, hair and feathers.

In comparison, albino individuals are white, or sometimes pale yellowish, and often have very pale eyes, often pink or red in colour (from the colour of their blood vessels).

The above-mentioned white-feathered myna seems to be a leucistic individual rather than an albino one due to the patchy colouration.

According to the Bird Ecology Study Group, normal mynas will reject their leucistic or albino counterparts due to the difference in appearance but have been observed to accept them.

Thankfully, Nesh Wara observed this particular leucistic myna was "playing together" with the other mynas.

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Top images via Nesh Wara/Facebook