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Half Female, Half Male Bird Discovered in Colombia

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Half Female, half Male Bird Discovered in Colombia
A half male, half female green honeyeater bird was identified near Manizales, Colombia, Credit: Jonh Murillo / University of Otago

A half male, half female bird was recently discovered in Colombia. A zoologist from the University of Otago in New Zealand has identified a rare bird that exhibits both male and female characteristics. This wild green honeyeater displays a unique plumage, half green (female) and half blue (male), making it an extremely rare example of a bilateral gynandromorph – a phenomenon where an animal exhibits both male and female characteristics in species that normally have separate sexes.

Understanding Bilateral Gynandromorphism

Bilateral gynandromorphism is a rare condition in birds, involving the presence of both male and female characteristics in a single individual. This phenomenon is more commonly observed in species with distinct differences between male and female appearances, such as in some insects, crustaceans, and reptiles. The occurrence of this condition in birds, as seen in this Colombian green honeyeater, is particularly rare and noteworthy.

The discovery was reported by Professor Hamish Spencer, who was guided by John Murillo, an amateur ornithologist. This finding is significant as it contributes to the understanding of sex determination and sexual behavior in birds. The condition is believed to result from an error during the cell division process in a female producing eggs, followed by the fertilization of an egg by two sperms.

In this instance of bilateral gynandromorphism, one side of the bird shows male characteristics, and the other side shows female characteristics. This discovery in Colombia provides a unique case study for scientists and contributes to the broader understanding of avian biology.

Half Male, Female Bird: A Rare Observation for Ornithologists

The sighting of this bird in Colombia is a rare event for both scientists and bird watchers. The chances of encountering a bilateral gynandromorph in the wild are extremely low. This particular sighting is significant due to the rarity of such occurrences in birds. The images captured of this bird are considered some of the best examples of wild bilateral gynandromorphs across any bird species.

The discovery of the bilateral gynandromorph green honeyeater in Colombia is a significant event in ornithology. It offers insights into the complex nature of sex characteristics in birds and adds to the scientific understanding of rare biological phenomena in the animal kingdom.


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