WATCH: Meet the rare blackbird – who’s actually a whitebird

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Take a beak at this eye-catcher that has taken up residence in the region.

Andrew Watson spotted the leucistic blackbird – which means it has white feathers – in the garden of his Peterlee home.

The leucistic blackbird pictured in Andrew Watson's back garden.

The leucistic blackbird pictured in Andrew Watson's back garden.

The rare sight has been captured by Andrew on video. The bird is believed to be a male because of its orange-yellow bill.

Software engineer and town councillor Andrew, 48, who lives with wife Colleen, 52, and is dad to Andrew, 22, and Victoria, 25, said: “They think it’s great, especially my daughter because she’s into wildlife.

“It was first seen about two weeks ago and when I saw it I thought ‘What the hell is that?’

“I got some good pictures and spoke to a few twitchers and found out it was quite rare.

I’ve been told this is its first moult and it’ll get whiter each time it moults

Andrew Watson

“It’s just a young one I’m told and I’ve put it on some twitchers sites on Facebook, and some have said they’ve never seen one as close up as that.

“It’s so different. I didn’t even realise it was a blackbird until I looked it up.

“It’s been eating everything we’ve put out for it. I’ve been told this is its first moult and it’ll get whiter each time it moults.”

Blackbirds are said to be more susceptible to the condition, which is caused by a genetic disorder which prevents pigments from being deposited normally in its feathers.

Leucistic birds are often vulnerable to predators because of their bright white plumage, and as colours play an important role in courtship rituals, they may struggle to find a mate.

Birds with extensive leucism have weaker feathers that will wear out more swiftly.