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Australia Rare black kookaburra spotted in Western Australia believed to be first sighting in state for decades

04:00  08 june  2018
04:00  08 june  2018 Source:

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A rare pure white sparrow has been spotted in Australia , leaving ornithologists all aflutter. 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.

Now, researchers have announced that they have found a population of the rare parrots hiding deep in the bush of Western Australia . The discovery follows decades of unverified sightings and rumors that the squat birds have persisted long after they were thought to have disappeared.

The rare black kookaburra was seen in a backyard in Manjimup, WA. © Supplied: Mike The rare black kookaburra was seen in a backyard in Manjimup, WA. Australia's bird experts have had to trawl through the record books after the sighting of a rare black kookaburra in a Western Australian backyard.

Amateur photographer Mike (surname withheld) said he could not believe it when he looked out the kitchen window of his Manjimup property, about 300 kilometres south of Perth, and spotted the rare bird.

"I saw this black bird on the garden shed and I said to my wife 'Crikey, that looks like a kookaburra', and I knew it was by the beak," he said.

While sightings of black kookaburras have been recorded in parts of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, there is little evidence of the bird ever being spotted in WA.

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The Spotted Turtle Dove is a pigeon native to eastern Asia. It was introduced into Australia in the mid-1800s and quickly became established. It is now a common sight throughout south- western Australia . Laughing Kookaburra - an Australian icon.

Taxonomy[edit]. The laughing kookaburra was first described and illustrated (in black and white) by the French naturalist and explorer Pierre Sonnerat in his Voyage à la nouvelle Western Australia (abbreviated as WA) is a state occupying the entire western third of Australia . It is bounded by the …

Australian Birdlife magazine editor Sean Dooley has seen a lot of unique birds himself and through correspondence from his readers, but WA's black kookaburra had him trawling through his record books.

"The two reports of black ones I have are from Brisbane and Sydney areas, but none from WA," Mr Dooley said.

One of country's first sightings was in WA

Bird experts around Australia agree the black kookaburra is very rare, but a WA-based ornithologist believes one of the country's first sightings was in Western Australia.

Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions ornithologist Allan Burbidge said the existence of a black kookaburra was first documented in Australian literature in 1951.

That bird was spotted in the WA town of Coolup, 100 kilometres south of Perth.

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The first sighting of an Emu on the West Australian coast was by European explorers in 1696. Yes, I could not believe it at first that the Kookaburra 's are part of the kingfisher family as they are so much larger. You can see these all over Australia except the centre of Western Australia .

"There was a farmer named Angus Robinson in Coolup, and when it was brought to his attention he wrote it up in the Western Australian Naturalist," Mr Burbidge said.

"Since then, I don't know if there have been others, but I know of some reports from Victoria and south-east Queensland."

"It probably is the first sighting for a long time."

Genetic mutation can affect all birds

Experts are still trying to understand what makes some birds albino or completely black.

Mr Burbidge said their colouring was essentially the result of a genetic mutation.

"What we know is that some mutations in birds can upset the production of pigments and result in excessive production of melanin, which is the very dark pigment," he said.

Kookaburras can also be albino, like this one found in Queensland's far north in 2010, but it is rare. © AAP Image Kookaburras can also be albino, like this one found in Queensland's far north in 2010, but it is rare. Mr Burbidge said while most people were aware of albino birds, black ones were rarer but were not confined to kookaburras.

"Albino [birds] are about 20 times more common than black ones," he said.

"You get black birds from other species groups as well, not just kookaburras.

"Black birds have been recorded from a whole range of bird groups from pelicans to magpies and even some small song birds."

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