As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday 27 September 2019

Rare, 'Dalmatian-like' spotted magpie photographed beside Victorian road

Updated 13 Sep 2019, 8:07am
Sandy Goddard was travelling from work this week, on a road she uses most days, when an unusual sight caught her eye.
Key points:
A rare spotted magpie with a beak full of worms has been seen outside Geelong, Victoria
The bird's unusual colouring is caused by a condition called leucism
Local residents say they suspect it is feeding young
"I spotted him on the side of the road just outside of Geelong, in Victoria," Ms Goddard said.
"I thought it was a weird looking rock at first. Then he moved!"
Ms Goddard enjoys bird photography and said she was lucky to capture some clear images, after stopping on the side of the road.
"I really hope he doesn't get hit by a car, it's a bloody busy road," she said.
"He was right out the front of a house and they probably see him everyday and don't even realise how special it is."
Magpie a rare bird
Birdlife Australia's Mick Roderick said the bird's unusual spots were caused by a rare condition called leucism, a genetic variation in the cells responsible for producing black pigment.
"Birders would probably describe [it] as being 'piebald', but its plumage is explained by a condition called 'leucism'," he said.
"It's very uncommon.
"This bird has a good mix of dark (normal) and leucistic feathers, which is what makes it look piebald."
'Dalmatian magpie'
While most Australians are familiar with magpies and their distinctive, warbling song which resonates through both bush and city, many keen twitchers report they have never seen a magpie quite like this before.
Ms Goddard's photos were shared on a bird photography page on social media, where they have generated a lot of interest.

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