Mango the cockatiel may have picked England's disastrous run at the Football World Cup, but she is finding tipping the winners as much of a struggle as her human friends.
The 22-month-old bird, whose first role is to be studied by students of Aoraki Polytechnic's animal care course, has been moonlighting as a football pundit.
Mango munches on paper flags to indicate her choices and is apparently sitting on 60 per cent.
She incorrectly predicted a boilover in the opening game when she chose Croatia to beat Brazil, but backed Uruguay to inflict a second loss on England yesterday morning.
The idea of having Mango pick results came from the polytechnic's Hospitality and Tourism department, after they were inspired by the TAB competition where someone could win $5 million for correctly picking the results of all 64 World Cup games. The competition ended after game 13.
Staff were planning on letting Mango pick her overall winner at the start of the round of 16.
Several animals have gained worldwide celebrity with their picks for major sports tournament over the past few years.
The most famous was Paul the octopus who, during the last Fifa World Cup in 2010, proved quite accurate with his selections.
- The Timaru Herald