The first ever albino magpie has been discovered in Tasmania, but due to its unique colour it will remain in captivity for the rest of its life.
The unique, pure white bird was found in the Australian state late last year, but when it was seen struggling to return to its nest, the young male bird started a new life away from its black and white peers, in Tasmania’s Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary.
The magpie, who is less than a year old, was handed into the sanctuary where it will live out its years.
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Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Darren Rumble, operations manager of Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary, explained how the unique bird’s white feathers would make the animal easy prey, as it wouldn’t be able to camouflage itself from predators like crows and owls.
He wouldn’t last one day.
The operations manager also questioned whether the bird would have been able to integrate and survive alongside other magpies, and ‘whether he would be accepted into the hierarchy’.
But while the animal might struggle to make friends with other birds, it seems more than happy to socialise with humans, as it prefers to be hand fed.
Workers at the sanctuary have described the albino magpie as ‘an absolute crack up’, and Darren said:
He talks to anyone who comes up to the fence, he’s very sociable.
The bird is kept in its own enclosure, though frequently vocalises with other magpies within the sanctuary.
Although other magpies have been found with colour pigmentation, there have been no recorded cases of ones with the characteristics of albinism.
According to ABC News, Darren added:
He is a genuine albino and the statistics around a genuine albino magpie are around one in a million.
You do see other forms of colour dysmorphia called leucism but that’s a dilution of the dark pigment which can go into a creamy colour of the feathers, but the bird will still have normal coloured legs, beak and eyes.
He’s got the total absence of the pigment.
The bird’s unusual colourings have certainly made it a big talking point!
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.