Thursday, May 20, 2010
Here's the picture I promised of the "albino" chick. A normal Laysan Albatross chick would be dark gray, almost black, perhaps with a bit of "frosting" on the downy head. But this chick's feathers are entirely white. Examine the dark eyes; they obviously have pigment. Therefore, this is not truly an albino; I believe it's called "leucystic," meaning almost an albino.
These birds don't survive in the wild as well as the normally colored LAAL. Even though their eyes appear normal, we scientists think they don't see as well, and therefore can't catch enough squid, one of their favorite foods, to stay healthy.