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Bird With Genetic Abnormality Making It Appear Male On One Side And Female On Other Caught In Texas

Bird With Genetic Abnormality Making It Appear Male On One Side And Female On Other Caught In Texas

A northern cardinal bird bearing a rare abnormality which means it has female plumage on one side and male on the other has been caught in Texas.

Basically, if you look at the bird from one side, it's completely red, but from the other its feathers are white.

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That's significant because it is the male cardinals that are well-known to be dark red - consider if you will, the mobile phone game Angry Birds - whereas the females are typically white.

Credit: Inland Bird Banding Association
Credit: Inland Bird Banding Association

This particular bird, which was captured and tagged up by the USA's Inland Bird Banding Association, has a rare genetic anomaly called bilateral gynandromorphism.

That means that, as well as the funky feathers, it shares both male and female genitalia and has both an ovary and a testis.

The bird is a regular visitor to the place where it was caught, having first been banded back in 2014. However, it returns to the feeders each year, who are lucky enough to marvel at this incredible irregularity of nature.

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Since the wildlife organisation shared the picture on their Facebook page, it has become something of a viral celebrity.

Credit: Inland Bird Banding Association
Credit: Inland Bird Banding Association

More than 6,800 people have commented on the bird's unique appearance, and the original post - from late November - has been shared more than 58,000 times.

That's more than most of us achieve in our lifetime, and this is just a bird.

Among the comments are a load of people marvelling at the spectacular variety of nature.

One person said: "Rare abnormality aside, this is a breathtakingly beautiful bird!

"Interesting, nature is always experimenting, we just don't always get to see the results. He/she does not appear to be too pleased with the current situation. That's one grumpy face."

Another offered: "Isn't nature amazing? So much variety and science to think about!"

Yup, that's certainly true.

A lobster with the same abnormality as the northern cardinal. Credit: University of Alberta
A lobster with the same abnormality as the northern cardinal. Credit: University of Alberta

Also, at least from one side, it definitely looks like an Angry Bird.

While this is a rare phenomenon, particularly in birds, it is actually a bit more common than you might think in insects.

For example, one out of every 10,000 butterflies possesses the anomaly.

OK, so that's still pretty rare, but you get the idea.

A gynandromorphic chicken. Credit: University of Alberta
A gynandromorphic chicken. Credit: University of Alberta

Since it was first observed in the 1800s, scientists have found crabs, snakes, bees, and other types of bird that are bilaterally gynandromorphic.

Oh, and check out the lobster that exhibits the rare trait, too. It's seriously weird, but also really cool.

Featured Image Credit: Inland Bird Banding Association

Topics: Science, Interesting, US News, Weird, Animals

Tom Wood

Tom Wood is a LADbible journalist and Twin Peaks enthusiast. Despite having a career in football cut short by a chronic lack of talent, he managed to obtain degrees from both the University of London and Salford. According to his French teacher, at the weekends he mostly likes to play football and go to the park with his brother.” Contact Tom on [email protected]

 

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