Unusual white blackbird spotted in Norwich

Sarah Empson, 42, spotted a white blackbird while on a walk with her two daughters, Leela, eight, and Zoe, six in...

Sarah Empson, 42, spotted a white blackbird while on a walk with her two daughters, Leela, eight, and Zoe, six in Fishergate, Norwich. - Credit: Sarah Empson

A mum-of-five has spoken of her family’s joy after spotting an unusual bird whilst on a walk in the city.

Sarah Empson, 42, spotted a white blackbird while on a walk with her two daughters, Leela, eight, and Zoe, six.

They spotted it perched on a drainpipe at St Edmund's Church on Fishergate, Norwich.

The bird has been identified by experts as a white blackbird, also known as an albino blackbird.

Ms Empson, who lives in the city, said: "I have never seen one before now, I just thought it would be nice to share it.

"The girls saw something move in the bush and at first I thought it was a tissue, but then I looked again I was shocked.

An albino blackbird spotted in Horsham St Faith. Picture: Natasha Covell

An albino blackbird spotted in Horsham St Faith in May 2020 - Credit: Natasha Covell

"We have blackbirds in our garden every morning so I recognised the singing, but then when I saw it was white I was really shocked.

Most Read

"I think my girls thought I was mad because I was telling them it was a blackbird when it was obviously white."

White blackbirds exist because of a condition called partial albinism, and it's usually inherited but can be caused by other factors. 

Some birds have just one or two white feathers, while others can be white all over or with big white blotches.

An albino blackbird spotted in Horsham St Faith. Picture: Natasha Covell

An albino blackbird spotted in Horsham St Faith in May 2020. - Credit: Natasha Covell

Dick Filby, who owns Rare Bird Alert, confirmed that the bird is unusual to see, but not rare.

He said: "In general, wildlife around Norwich is diminishing, like in most of the country, due to gardens getting paved over, loss of hedges, or, just as bad, their frequent, drastic cutting.

"With lockdown however, more people are noticing what we do have left, and any albino, or partially albino birds really stand out.

"It's harder to hide if you're pure white in a green and brown landscape, any albino birds probably benefited from being "less visible" during the recent snow."

In May 2020, another albino blackbird was spotted in Horsham St Faith by Natasha Covell and her children Adam and Maisie.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter