Skip to main content
The Lost Gardens of Heligan are open daily with pre-booking essential for all visitors including Local Pass Holders

Rare white sparrow discovered in Cornish Garden

This January, a rare bird has been discovered in a Cornish garden. Polgooth resident Barry Hitchens was puzzled by an unusual looking, small, white plumed bird visiting his garden and called experts at the nearby Lost Gardens of Heligan to investigate.

The Heligan team identified the garden visitor as a rare leucistic sparrow. From a distance the sparrow looks completely white but upon closer examination can see that it has a few brown feathers. Leucistic means that the bird is not totally lacking in pigment and has dark eyes rather than the distinctive pink of a true albino sparrow.

Heligan team member and wildlife photographer Andy Wilson managed to capture some great images of the snowy looking sparrow.

“It was a real treat to photograph this unusual looking bird, it certainly stood out within the garden and amongst the other sparrows. I feel really privileged to have had the opportunity to observe and photograph such a rarity” explains Andy

Unfortunately, the chances of survival are not rated by experts as the distinctive whiteness, caused by the partial loss of pigment, makes it a target for birds of prey.

“As many birds in search of winter food are visiting gardens, it is not only the perfect time to make sure that your bird feeders are full but also to enjoy what you can see in your own garden. Like Barry discovered, it could be something quite rare!”.

Discover more