Photographer catches glimpse of rare white tui

Tui are normally blue, green and bronze colours.
JENNIFER HAYWOOD

Tui are normally blue, green and bronze colours.

It's a rare occasion to catch a glimpse of a white tui.

But that's just what one keen amateur photographer did near Clevedon in south Auckland this month.

Jennifer Haywood posted the photos to Forest and Bird's Facebook page and within a week the post has been liked almost seven thousand times and shared 4,900 times.

The rare bird was sighted in Clevedon this month
JENNIFER HAYWOOD

The rare bird was sighted in Clevedon this month

The Titirangi resident says the chance sighting came about while she was on a team building exercise at Clevedon's Red Alert Paintball centre on October 10.

"We saw this bird in a large coral tree. The guys from Red Alert had seen it before but thought it was a dove," she says. 

"I thought it was acting more like a tui so I went for a closer look."

She says being able to capture the moment on her camera was pretty special.

"It was really incredible and I just felt really lucky to have seen it.

"And it's truly gone viral. It went from 50 shares on Monday night and I think it's close to 5000 shares now."

Her great photos have also drawn a wide range of attention. 

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"I've had a musician ask if she can use it on her album cover and someone wants to study the bird as part of a research paper he's doing."

Jennifer at first thought the bird was albino but after doing a bit of research she's not so sure. 

"I'm pretty sure it didn't have red eyes which means it might be leucistic."

Forest & Bird spokesperson Kimberley Collins says such a sighting is very unusual. 

"There are only a dozen or so records of it happening - so it's quite rare."

Collins is also of the opinion the bird isn't albino. 

"It's more likely to be leucistic, which is a partial loss of pigmentation. It can make a bird have white or patchy coloured feathers. It's different to albinism, which is caused by the loss of a particular pigment called melanin."

 

 - Stuff

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