Bhubaneshwar: There is only one bird of this species that exists in the whole wide world. And that’s in our very own Odisha! The world’s only White grey-headed swamphen can be found in the Mangalajodi wetland, which is around 70 km from Bhubaneshwar, according to media reports.
The prestigious “Wilson Journal of Orinthology” carried this finding as an online early article titled “First report of diluted plumage in grey-headed swamphen (Porphyrio poliocephalus) and a review of colour aberrations in swamphens”, reported a newspaper article.
The colour of the bird – which has an almost all-white plumage because of genetic dilution – lends it its rare element. As per the media report, a team of three researchers – wildlife warden of Khordha Subhendu Mallik, associate professor at Shakti Nanda and assistant conservator of forests – identified the purpose.
Researchers say that some colour aberrations have been observed in Indian birds. But none was observed in the grey-headed swamphen or purple swamphen (Porphyrio poliocephalus), which is a common resident bird throughout India. These birds are usually purplish-blue in colour with a large red bill. But the team of researchers found out that the bird in Odisha has the aberration. Subhendu Mallik, the corresponding author of the article, told the Times of India that when they photographed the bird in 2020, they knew that it is a grey-headed swamphen. “But we suspected it to be an albino because of its white body and reddish eye. After going deep into the subject and
consulting with international ornithologists, we concluded that it is not an albino. The white colour was the result of a dilution process,” he told the Times of India.