A super-rare white blackbird has been spotted at a Waitrose supermarket in Dorset, with experts warning that its appearance makes it stand out to predators.  

David Boag - an author of 18 books - was looking for blackbirds when he stumbled upon the rare creature in the supermarket's car park in Wimborne Minster, Dorset. 

blackbird in trees

Common blackbird in the more traditional colours

White blackbirds often live short lives because the white skin makes them susceptible to being killed by predators.

The photographed bird has a rare condition called leucism meaning it has a genetic mutation which prevents colour from being deposited on its feathers.

It is not the first time a bird like this has been spotted in the UK and experts say they are becoming more common.

AN RSPB spokeswoman, Becca Smith, said: 'Leucism is interesting because it can either affect a bird's plumage either partially or completely as the case seems to be here.

'Leucistic birds are certainly a good spot and do appear to be showing up on our doorsteps more often in recent years'.

What is Leucism and which animals does the condition affect? 

Leucism is an abnormal condition that affects animals including birds, mammals, reptiles and fish.

It is caused by a genetic mutation that inhibits melanin and other pigments – substances that give an animal its colour. This gives them white or patchily coloured skin, hair, or feathers.

The condition is actually different from albinism, which is an absence of any pigmentation, including in the eyes and feet.

Vertebrates with albinism are not only white in colour but also have very pale eyes, often pink or red – this is the easiest way of distinguishing between leucism and albinism. 

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