Aussies amazed by rare sighting of 'local celebrity' on suburban fence

A Queensland resident was even accused of lying about the bird. But here's the interesting truth.

The white fluffy kookaburra perched on top of a resident's backyard fence in Wynnum, Brisbane.
Some suspected the all-white kookaburra spotted in Brisbane was actually fake. Source: Facebook

The appearance of a kookaburra spotted in a resident's backyard this week was so different that Aussies accused the woman of putting a "stuffed toy" on top of her fence. But the bird is indeed real, just very "rare".

The white, fluffy kookaburra was spotted in Brisbane's coastal suburb of Wynnum with a local resident who snapped pictures of the creature declaring it to be somewhat of a "local celebrity" in the area. However, some struggled to hold back their scepticism at seeing the unusual bird.

"It's a puppet," one person claimed after the images were shared on social media, while many more believed its feathers were made of "wool" and weren't actually real.

The woman was ultimately forced to share more images as she confirmed it was the genuine Aussie bird.

The bird has a form of albinism caused by lower levels of melanin. Not only does the condition impact its sight, but it also makes the kookaburra more likely to burn under the hot Australian sun.

"Being albino you get more sun damage to exposed skin parts, so the area around the eyes and at the top of the beak and the feet," Professor Sarah Legge from Charles Darwin University told Yahoo News. "And if you zoom in closely, you can see in the image there's a lightness in the iris of the bird's eye... that's caused by albinism.

"I can see why people thought it was fake because it looks like a cuddly toy with its fluffed-up feathers," she added.

The sighting is "rare" but not unheard of, Legge confirmed, with several white kookaburras spotted in urban areas in recent years. In fact, many were spotted in Sydney in 2022, and one geneticist believes it may be advantageous for the birds to be in urban areas, compared to the bush, as there is more chance of blending into the environment as there are lighter surfaces in the landscape compared to the wild.

"If you're thinking of where are these things going to pop up in a greater frequency, then certainly, you can imagine that urban areas are where we might expect to see them at a higher frequency," Chair of Ecological Genetics at Melbourne University, Professor Ary Hoffmann, previously told Yahoo.

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