Penguin Is Missing his Tux


Nope, it’s not a wetsuit — a writer on the subantarctic island of South Georgia recently snapped a shot of an all-black king penguin, a complete rarity in the animal world. Author Andrew Evans sent the image to National Geographic, whose editors contacted Canadian ornithologist Dr. Allan Baker for his input.

“Well that is astonishing,” Baker told National Geographic. “I’ve never ever seen that before. It’s a one in a zillion kind of mutation somewhere.” He went on to explain that melanistic birds (those with extra skin/feather pigmentation) often have white spots where pigment hasn’t colored their feathers, but it’s incredibly rare for color deposits to happen in an abnormal spot — like on this penguin’s breast feathers.

Since the magazine first printed the photo online on March 3, several readers have written in to discuss their own black penguin sightings. But none yet seem to compare to this guy, whom Evans described as a “single black king moving across a chessboard of so many white pawns.” Checkmate!




India May Have Lost Siberian Cranes For Ever


For the tenth consecutive year, the majestic Siberian Cranes – among the most endangered birds in the world – have skipped India this winter, say experts.They apprehend that the Siberian Cranes are unlikely to ever come to the Bharatpur region of Rajasthan again as they have apparently changed their centuries-old migratory route from Siberia to India.

“These birds have not been sighted in the famous Keoladeo National Park of Bharatpur or any other place in northern India. It is clear that their route has undergone a change owing to a variety of reasons,” Dilawar Mohammed, ornithologist with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), said.The last time a pair of Siberian Cranes (Grus leucogeranus) was spotted in this park was way back in 2001.

“After that it has been a disappointment for bird lovers, ornithologists and tourists who used to go there for a glimpse of these royal birds,” Mohammed said.He explained that the Siberian Cranes’ route to India was through Afghanistan. The adult birds stand as tall as 91 inches and can weigh over 10 kg.Dodging the bombings by US fighter jets which tried to root out the erstwhile Taliban regime in October 2001 and after the 9/11 strikes in the US, the Siberian Cranes managed to reach India for the last time.