Scientific Journal of the BirdLife Hungary

A Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület tudományos folyóirata

Ornis Hungarica. vol.27(2). (2019) p.100-114.

Leucistic Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola L.) occurrences in Hungary from the second half of the 19th century to the present day
Attila Bende, Angéla Király & Richárd László

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Publications about curiosities are known in the Hungarian and international ornithologi­cal literature since the 1800s. Although studies explaining the processes of pigmentation dysfunctions have been known since the mid-nineteenth century, these specimens still appear only as curiosities in the professional press and the terminology used to specify them is generally incorrect. The analysed genetic abnormalities causing white colour varieties in Woodcock (albinism, leucism, Ino) are due to mutations. By briefly describing the biological background of the defects, this work helps detect colour changes. In this article, we provide a broad overview of partially or completely white Woodcocks (n = 23 expl.) found in international (8 countries) and Hungarian literature. We have supplemented the literature background with our own studies. The large-scale analysis of the variability of colours and patterns was made possible by the countrywide wing sample collection within the biometric module of Woodcock Monitoring, which has been running under the coordination of the Hungarian Hunting Conservation Association since 2010. Within this framework, 12,078 samples were analysed between 2010–2018. We found that pigment deficiency occurred in the sample set only with a proportion of 0.01%. Based on the Hungarian literature and our own samples, we presented the known occurrences on maps of the state territory with boundaries before and after 1921, indicating the causes of patterns of occurrence by migration and frequencies of occurrence.