Date: 3/17/17 9:01 pm From: Len Blumin <Len.blumin...> [south-bay-birds] <south-bay-birds-noreply...> Subject: [SBB] Re: Would melanism explain the brown woodpecker I photographed at Rancho
Your brown woodpecker appears to be a Nuttall's Woodpecker which lacks the full complement of melanin in the pigmented feather tracts. "Melanism" is a term used to describe birds (and other animals) that are unusually dark because of an *excess* of melanin. Your bird has the opposite problem, i.e. a relative deficiency of melanism, sometimes referred to as "hypomelanism". Jeff N. Davis has written about the subject of Color Abnormalities in Birds, and has suggested that we use terms that describe the cause of the condition rather than the final appearance, so hypomelanism seems appropriate.