AUSTRALIA – Albino Kookaburras are reproducing at an alarming rate in Queensland.
Albino kookaburras with blue-hued wings were discovered on Monday, Dec. 6, in north Queensland, Australia, for the first time, according to specialist wildlife caregivers. There were over 3,000 of them discovered in one week.
The kookaburra is an Australian native terrestrial kingfisher with a cackling signature call. But, unlike the more common laughing kookaburras, blue-winged kookaburras “scream more like a parrot,” local wildlife specialist Harry Kunz of Eagles Nest wildlife hospital said. “They also can dance for some reason. It looks like they are tap-dancing most of the time.”
Kunz said there are white laughing kookaburras in captivity in Australia with dark eyes, but these new birds appear to be the first albino blue-winged kookaburras on record and have red eyes.
The chicks were found on the ground, in trees and living in mailboxes and are believed to have been blown into Queensland during a severe storm.
They have been adopted by Eagles Nest wildlife hospital in Ravenshoe, south-west of Cairns. Kunz, who owns the sanctuary, has applied for an educational permit from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to keep the birds, which would normally die in the wild.
Wildlife caregiver Karin Traub, also of Eagles Nest wildlife hospital, said the birds are “not releasable because they are too visible.” Their white coloring makes them vulnerable to predators, and “other kookaburras might attack them.”
Traub said the birds are probably females, but it is difficult to be sure as they are young and do not have normal coloring. Usually, male blue-winged kookaburras can be identified by the blue feathers in their tails.
Traub and Kunz have spoken with an expert on albino animals to better understand the birds’ predicament and what special care they might need. They are also warning citizens to be careful around them. “They are reproducing at an alarming rate, and we are not sure yet what that means.”