(n.) In certain birds and mammals, one of two or more color variations characteristic of the species, but independent of the ordinary seasonal and sexual differences, and often also of age. Some of the herons which appear in white and colored phases, and certain squirrels which are sometimes uniformly blackish instead of the usual coloration, furnish examples. Color phases occur also in other animals, notably in butterflies.
Meaning of PHASE in English
Webster's English dictionary. Английский словарь Webster. 2012