Albino kookaburras found in northern Australia

December 6, 2010
An undated handout photo released by the Eagles Nest Wildlife Hospital shows wildlife expert Harry Kunz holding two extremely rare blue-winged albino kookaburras in Ravenshoe, believed to have been swept from their nests in a wild storm, at the wildlife sanctuary.

Australian wildlife workers on Monday said they had discovered a never-before-seen pair of blue-winged albino kookaburras, believed to have been swept from their nests in a wild storm.

The six-week-old birds, renowned for their laughing cry, were found waterlogged at the base of a tree by a cattle farmer near Ravenshoe, in far northern Queensland, said Harry Kunz from the Eagles Nest Wildlife Sanctuary.

The pink-eyed, pink-beaked and starkly white creatures, thought to be sisters, are the first specimens of their kind ever found in Australia, Kunz said. They are still too young to feed themselves or fly.

"Everybody asks me 'are they rare?' They have never been seen because in nature they would not survive a few days out of the nest because their white colour sticks out and every reptile, owl or predator will get them," Kunz told AFP.

"In the whole of Australia I know there is about three white laughing kookaburras but they are not , they have black eyes. For blue wings nobody knows that they exist or can be hatching in this colour."

Wild storms which had recently rocked the area were believed to have swept the unusual chicks from their nests, he added.

Feeding on a diet of small mice, cicadas and moths, the birds were in good health and would be raised at the sanctuary, said Kunz.

"Luckily this farmer found and saved them, they're the real heroes, because probably within the next day they would be dead," he said.

Kunz, founder of the non-profit park, said he was seeking public sponsorship for the birds' care and would offer the rights to name them to the highest bidders.

Usually cream-breasted and bellied with dark brown and blue wings, the kookaburra -- a type of kingfisher -- is an iconic Australian bird which is best known for its call, which sounds uncannily like human laughter.

Explore further: Extinct parrot resurfaces in Aberdeen

Related Stories

Extinct parrot resurfaces in Aberdeen

January 30, 2007

The University of Aberdeen Zoology Museum (UK) has taken care of a case of mounted Australian birds, one of which is the spectacular but sadly extinct Paradise Parrot Psephotus pulcherrimus.

Lost cuckoo breaks its silence

February 26, 2007

A team of biologists with the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have recorded for the first time the call of the extremely rare Sumatran ground cuckoo, found only on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia.

Pain automatically activates facial muscle groups

October 27, 2008

A study has found that people who facially express pain in a more intense way are not exaggerating if their perception of a painful stimulation is controlled. The study conducted by Miriam Kunz is published in the November ...

Rare reptile hatchling found on NZ mainland

March 19, 2009

(AP) -- A hatchling of a rare reptile with lineage dating back to the dinosaur age has been found in the wild on the New Zealand mainland for the first time in about 200 years, a wildlife official said Thursday.

Bizarre bird gets private beach in Indonesia

May 15, 2009

(AP) -- A species of birds able to fly immediately after hatching from eggs buried beneath the tropical sand has just been given its own private beach in eastern Indonesia, a conservation group said Friday.

Recommended for you

Orangutan females prefer dominant, cheek-padded males

September 1, 2015

Unlike most mammals, mature male orangutans exhibit different facial characteristics: some develop large "cheek pads" on their faces; other males do not. A team of researchers studied the difference in reproductive success ...

Plastic in 99 percent of seabirds by 2050

August 31, 2015

Researchers from CSIRO and Imperial College London have assessed how widespread the threat of plastic is for the world's seabirds, including albatrosses, shearwaters and penguins, and found the majority of seabird species ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.