Bird Catcher Spots

Have you ever been curious as to what the small white spots on your horse might be, that just seem to appear out of nowhere, and just as quickly disappear, or move? 

They are called Bird Catcher spots. There is little in regards to formal studies into these spots, why they appear and then seem to be gone, what causes them or any treatment, but here are some interesting facts about them. 

  • They aren’t specific to any particular breed but seem to be seen more on Arabians and Thoroughbreds. 
  • Named after the Thoroughbred stallion “Birdcatcher” who was alive during the 1800’s and had these spots around his flanks and the top of his tail. 
  • They are thought to be a genetic mutation and can run in families. 
  • Generally found on horses with darker coats (including chestnuts) 
  • Spots appear randomly. 
  • Are not always white in colour but can appear in variations of cream or silver. 
  • Area’s where they can be found vary from horse to horse. The most common areas are on the face/legs/chest or back. 
  • Their size also varies but they are not normally more than an inch in size or not greater than say a 20cent piece.  
  • Generally, appear later in life. 
  • Existing spots can disappear, whist more spots can surface in different areas.  
  • Bird catcher spots are not the result of any injury, bites, or trauma. 


If your horse suddenly has these random spots appear on its coat, don’t panic it’s not unusual and, if Birdcatcher Spots, will not have any negative health effects on your horse. If you do have any concern that white marks are appearing as a result of pressure points (common around the saddle area), of course don’t hesitate to seek a professional opinion!  


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