Written by: Kevin and Michelle Sutton
We were on a boat trip on the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda – an area that is renowned for a large number of water-loving bird species. We had heard that there was a unique bird that had been spotted in the area so we decided to go in search of it.
After a couple of hours on the boat with great elephant sightings, hippo encounters and numerous sightings of a vast variety of bird species, we spotted something extraordinary flitting around the shores of the channel.
A small snow-white kingfisher, with a bright orange beak and feet, was resting on a twig with its head cocked towards the water looking for fish.
We were thrilled when we realised that we were looking at a leucistic malachite kingfisher – what a special sighting!
Leucism is a condition that presents partial loss of pigmentation resulting in white, pale or patches of colouration. It differs from albinism and can be recognised by the eye, which remains dark. Whereas the eyes have no pigment in albinos.
The white kingfisher was a vast contrast to its more common, colourful counterpart:
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