We journeyed to Dangar Island, a small (31 hectare) forested island in the Hawkesbury River in Sydney’s north, to try to find the rare Yellow-morph of the Australian King Parrot.
After a lovely breakfast at the island’s only cafe, we took a circuit of the island – a walk of 3.2 kilometres. We obviously chose the wrong direction, as we had all but arrived back at our starting point before we found our target.
The male Australian King Parrot’s wings are normally a rich dark green:
Bird experts believe that a genetic condition called Leucism is what makes the feathers of some birds more pale (or even white). The population on Dangar Island has this genetic condition – locals tell us there are a number of yellow-morphs on the island. One local told us she has seen four, another reckons about half the males have the morph.
We have seen photos of other yellow-morphs where the condition even affects the bright red of the head, but on the guy we found that is clearly not the case.
Here is a comparison of the yellow-morph male and a “normal” male:
Another male was feeding in the same area. (The two had a brief altercation, but nothing serious).
The females that we saw did not seem to exhibit any abnormal colouration:
We were very pleased to get so many shots of a Yellow-morph.
Dangar Island is listed on a number of sites as a “birding hotspot”. On this visit, however, apart from the excitement of the Yellow-morph, we found it to be a bit of a birding NOT spot. Very few other species appeared – and none that were not common all over Sydney.
Dangar Island itself is an interesting place. It has a population of approximately 300 (which swells in Summer holidays), and is Sydney’s only private-car-free suburb (there is a fire-truck and a Council ute).
Judging solely by the residents’ houses and gardens, there seems to be a bit of a bohemian vibe on Dangar:
What sort of bird lives in this nest?