A rare white pīwakawaka, or fantail, has been spotted in Stratford recently.

The bird was spotted by Jim Gould, who says he was on a walk through King Edward Park in Stratford when he spotted it.

"I feel so very lucky. I've not heard of any others in Taranaki."

Luckily Jim had his camera with him while he was on what he describes as his "isolation exercise route".


He says it was tricky to get a good shot of the bird.

"The little blighters don't sit still and I was quite frankly over-excited and didn't have time to change the settings on my camera in case it flew away."

This white pīwakawaka was spotted by Jim Gould. Photo / Jim Gould
This white pīwakawaka was spotted by Jim Gould. Photo / Jim Gould

The bird did indeed fly away after about 20 seconds, he says.

White and albino birds aren't completely unheard of, but they certainly aren't common. Unfortunately for them, it's not just photographers who spot them. Their white markings also make them easier for predators to see too.

While people often refer to an all-white bird as being an albino, it isn't necessarily the case.

An albino has a total lack of melanin, the pigment that gives skin, hair, and eyes their colour.

If a bird has leucism, it can have white patches in its plumage, even to the point of being all white when you see its feathers. However, its bill, eyes and feet are likely to still have some colour. A bird with leucism can appear albino at first glance.