rare albino kookaburra – inflight shots

Is an Albino Kookaburra rare ?

inflight kookaburra albino

inflight Albino

Not sure how rare it really is. The internet can play tricks on the perception. I couldn’t find any other inflight shots, so atleast I feel like I got a first.. 🙂  Although it appears my find is not an Albino, but a Leucistic variety, as it does not have the pink eyes.

Here’s the story:

It was about midday, when I was just returning home. I was putting the bins away when I heard some birds fighting in the air. Now if you live in Australia this is not anything really surprising, but when I looked up I saw 3 kookaburras having a bit of an aerial argument. It seems like 2 of them were harassing the other. That’s when I noticed the other one was different. Absolutely no markings at all. Completely all white feathers. An Albino Kookaburra !

white, albino, kookaburra

After the trio flew there separate ways I notice the Albino kookaburra flew over my house towards the backyard. I raced inside, grabbed my D700 and put the 300mm F/4 lens on with the 1.4x Teleconverter. I quietly made my way out to the backyard hoping the anomaly had stayed around long enough for me to get a shot.

Albino Kookaburra

posing albino

I was pleasantly surprised to find him sitting up on a neighbors antenna. I snapped a few static shots with a few profile angles, before he took off. Luckily I was right on him, and was able to shoot a few continuous shots of him as he flew off. Plenty of practice paid off shooting bird of prey in Calgary. I was happy to get what I did, as I have not seen him since. He wasn’t exactly a plump specimen  so lets hope he survives the constant tormenting from his peers.

flying albino kookaburra

Technical notes

Given the speed that all this happened, I had to think and move quickly. Camera setting needed to be automatic, so you can focus on the subject. For my given camera, lens and adapter  I knew I could shoot wide open (F/5.6) and shot in aperture mode, with a +0.7 exposure for the predominantly white bird in a tough backlit lighting.


13 thoughts on “rare albino kookaburra – inflight shots

  1. Hi Luke
    I live in Brisbane and today got the shock of my life to see an albino kookaburra. I have never even heard of them before. I did manage to get some shots too but nothing like yours as I only have a very basic camera. I was surprised at how long he stayed in the tree. It was with two other kookaburras but they didn’t seem to be bothering it.

    1. That’s great Colleen ! I can understand your surprise when you spotted him/her, as I felt the same way. Ironically I have seen the Leucistic Kookaburra a few other times since these shot and there was 2 other kookaburra’s hanging out with him. I guess it is possibly the same “crew” we have seen. Are you on the south side, Mt Gravatt area ? Thanks for taking the time to comment. Luke

      1. Yes, I live at Wishart so it’s very possible they are the same birds that you have seen. I have told a few of my friends and family and I’m sure they don’t believe me. Fortunately my husband saw it too and the photos I took prove it. 🙂

  2. Hi, I saw an albino kookaburra yesterday. I live in Mt Gravatt East where the creek backs on to Pine Mountain Road. I was also very surprised as I have never seen one before and have seldom heard of them. I managed to get some pics but they are not the best as they are on my Iphone. The one I saw was big and not thin at all so it has done well surviving. I hope to see him/her again 🙂

    1. That’s great Brooke, thanks for taking the time to comment and keep us updated. It’s funny how there are quite a few people in the area who are continuing to see him/her. Hopefully this post will become a log book of their progress. Thanks again and glad you were able to see him/her.

    1. Hey good stuff George. It’s great to see and hear of more of these guys. Do you know if he/she had red eyes ? Or maybe a Leusitic like the one on my site. Thanks for commenting.

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