Monday, March 20, 2006

Aberrant Oystercatchers


Felix Wilson sent in these 2 pix of aberrant Sooty Oystercatchers. He photographed them a couple of weeks ago at South Arm. If you click on and enlarge them you will see one has a curved bill and the other has a number of white feathers among the otherwise black plumage. He poses the questions, are the white feathers a result of interbreeding of Pied with a Sooty or just a genetic mutation? And what would cause the downcurving as pictured? He adds that Priscilla Park has a photo. of an oddly plumaged Pied Oystercatcher. Has anyone else seen any to add to the list?

1 comment:

John Tongue said...

Some interesting shots, Felix! My guess is that they probably ARE just "abberant" individuals, as I would think that if Sootys and Pieds did interbreed, we'd see more example of it - though I may be totally wrong on this. As for Priscilla's shots - I heard recently about some examples of the NZ "South Island Pied Oystercatcher" making it to the Mainland, where they have been observed. Maybe some have turned up here, too. I'm not sure what they look like, as it was only a thread on the Birding-Aus email list, and so contained no pix. Maybe there is some other explanation for them, too?