Rare white sparrow sighting is a first for Nottinghamshire

Sharon Dale

The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is delighted to share its first record of a white sparrow.

The rare bird was photographed by Sharon Dale, in her mother-in-law’s garden in Pinxton.

Sharon said: “She told me she had a regular visitor to her garden feeders. At first she thought it was an escaped aviary bird, so she rang me up to come and take a look. I took my camera on the off chance it may be there, and it was!”

Rare White Sparrow

Sharon Dale

The sparrow’s pale colour is caused by a lack of melanin or other pigments in the feathers, a condition called leucism. Unlike albino birds, birds with leucism have normal coloured eyes.

The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has received numerous reports of white blackbirds in recent years, and even a white house martin.

Although rarely reported, this is not the first time white sparrows have been spotted in the UK.

Two white fledglings were photographed on the Kennett and Avon Canal in Wiltshire back in May 2017. Another young white sparrow was photographed being fed by its mother in Newport, South Wales, in July 2016.

Unfortunately, UK house sparrow populations have declined gradually during the last 100 years. Since the mid-1970s numbers in rural England have almost halved, while populations in towns and cities have dropped by almost 60 per cent. The house sparrow is now red-listed a species of high conservation concern.

An easy way you can support house sparrows is by putting up bird boxes and feeders in your garden.

To find out more about the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and how to support declining bird populations, visit nottinghamshirewildlife.org/actions