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Birdcatcher Spots – A Rare Pattern on a Rare Horse


Talo is special in so many ways, but the first thing most people notice about him is his Birdcatcher Spots. Some think he’s an Appaloosa, but he’s not. Talo is a KWPN horse, and he was actually born chestnut brown. Over the years, he developed tons of birdcatcher spots.

Seriously, if you look up Birdcatcher spots on Google or something, you’ll see plenty of pictures of horses with a few white spots on them. Talo, however, has them all over – from his neck to his butt. None on his belly, though. He’s got a few on his face, too.

Birdcatcher spots - Talo the horse

What are birdcatcher spots?

I was offered many “explanations” about Talo’s white markings – from copper deficiency to insect bites. It’s all nonsense. Birdcatcher spots are a rare genetic trait in horses. Birdcatcher spots are named for the Irish-born Thoroughbred stallion Birdcatcher (1833), who had these markings on his flank and above his tail. So, it’s basically a genetic thing, that randomly appears in horses of all kinds.


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  • September 14, 2022 at 11:20 pm

    My 7 year pure sorrel mare recently starting getting these white spots. I have contacted several veterinarians and horsey people. No one can give me an explanation. So I started searching the internet and came across several articles on birdcatcher spots. I realize they dont bother the horse but they bother me. Can I give her anything that will stop more appearing?

    • September 15, 2022 at 2:02 am
      Revital Salomon

      Since it’s a genetic condition, I don’t think there’s anything you can do about it.

  • January 26, 2023 at 9:08 pm

    Wow that’s crazy. My horse is actually also a chestnut KPWN. He also has birdcatcher spots and they just keep coming! Your horse is beautiful I love the unique look the birdcatcher spots give.

  • June 24, 2023 at 5:24 am
    Denise Angel

    My retired Dressage Champion Morgan is getting little white spots on his neck and shoulder. He is healthy, well cared for and pampered. How can I tell if these are Birdcatcher spots or an iron difficiency?


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