Australians are wowed by an image of 'mutant' rainbow lorikeet mingling with other birds

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Australians are wowed by an image of 'mutant' rainbow lorikeet mingling with other birds

Australians are wowed by an image of a 'mutant' rainbow lorikeet mingling with other members of the popular bird species in a woman's

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Australians are wowed by an image of a ‘mutant’ rainbow lorikeet mingling with other members of the popular bird species in a woman’s backyard

  • A woman has shared a picture of a rainbow lorikeet found in her backyard with a very unique feather pattern
  • There are bright yellow patches on the bird’s usually plain green back and wings and flecks of red on its head
  • Some people commenting on the picture said it was a ‘pied genetic mutation’ which is rare but not unheard of

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An Australian woman has shared a remarkable photo of a rainbow lorikeet with brightly coloured ‘mutant’ markings on her feathers that she found mingling with other birds in her backyard. 

The photo shows the lorikeet with bright yellow patches of feathers on what would usually be an entirely green back, along with red flecks on the normally plain blue head of the bird species. 

‘Had this beautiful little one visit me in my yard yesterday afternoon with some fellow rainbow lorikeets. I am led to believe it’s a natural mutation,’ the woman from North Rothbury, west of Newcastle in New South Wales, wrote.  

A New South Wales woman found the bird with the unique colour patterns on its feathers in her backyard this week (pictured)

A New South Wales woman found the bird with the unique colour patterns on its feathers in her backyard this week (pictured)

A standard rainbow lorikeet (pictured) does not have the yellow patches on its back or red flecks on the head

A standard rainbow lorikeet (pictured) does not have the yellow patches on its back or red flecks on the head 

A previous photo of a different rainbow lorikeet (pictured) with what some people have called a "pied genetic mutation"

A previous photo of a different rainbow lorikeet (pictured) with what some people have called a ‘pied genetic mutation’ 

The picture amazed social media users after it was posted to the Australian Native Birds Facebook group on Tuesday and has received almost 500 comments and more than 1,000 shares. 

RAINBOW LORIKEET 

A native parrot species found in Australia along the east coast from North Queensland to South Australia. 

The are 25cm to 30cm long including the tail and weigh 75 to 157 grams. 

The normal feather colouring is blue on the head and belly, orange and yellow on the chest, and green elsewhere. 

They generally live in pairs but can fly in flocks on occasion. 

Their diet consists mainly of fruit, pollen, and nectar. 

Rainbow lorikeets have been introduced to Western Australia, Tasmania, and Hong Kong.  

‘Perhaps a pied mutation,’ one person said. 

‘Beautiful bird, very interesting,’ another said. 

‘Wow, amazing colours!’ Added a third. 

‘How special is this little one, gorgeous!’ A fourth said.

Rainbow lorikeets are native parrot species found in Australia along the east coast from North Queensland to South Australia. 

They are 25cm to 30cm long including the tail and weigh 75 to 157 grams. 

The normal feather colouring is blue on the head and belly, orange and yellow on the chest, and green elsewhere.   

One person said lorikeet breeders sometimes came across birds like this – calling it a ‘pied mutation’. 

A genetic mutation is a natural phenomenon, which can propagate through a species if the difference provides an advantage for survival or mating. 

Another cause for difference colourings in birds is leucism – which is not a genetic mutation but rather a defect in the pigment cells. 

Birds with leucism can display white or paler patches of feathers, giving a mottled appearance, or can be entirely pale. 

This is different again from Albinism in which the entire colouring of the bird – including the eyes – is affected. 

Bird watchers have previously spotted some spectacular examples of birds with unique colour variations. 

In the UK, Barry Hitchens had been visiting the Lost Garden of Heligan in St Austell in January when he spotted an unusual white-feathered bird and called experts at the beauty spot to investigate. 

The North Island brown kiwi named Manukura with white plumage (pictured) was born in captivity in 2011 at the Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre in New Zealand

The North Island brown kiwi named Manukura with white plumage (pictured) was born in captivity in 2011 at the Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre in New Zealand 

The rare leucistic white sparrow has been discovered by experts at the Lost Garden of Heligan in Cornwall earlier this year (pictured)

The rare leucistic white sparrow has been discovered by experts at the Lost Garden of Heligan in Cornwall earlier this year (pictured) 

A team from the tourist attraction identified the bird as a leucistic white sparrow and described the moment as ‘such a rarity’. 

An extremely rare white New Zealand Kiwi was also born in captivity in 2011, with both the bird’s parents having leucism. 

While in 2020 a white and pale brown penguin was spotted in the Galapagos islands, believed to be the first ever seen there. 

A spokesperson from the Galapagos National Park said 2020 was the first time a white penguin has been seen 'in the history' of the archipelago. Pictured: The white penguin

A spokesperson from the Galapagos National Park said 2020 was the first time a white penguin has been seen ‘in the history’ of the archipelago. Pictured: The white penguin 

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