The rare bird was found among thousands of black-and-white king penguins.
Gulf Today Report
In an unusual case, a penguin was found without its trademark black-and-white tuxedoed look.
The unique king penguin — believed to have been spotted for the first time ever — was seen strutting around wearing a unique yellow-and-white feather coat instead.
According to The Independent, Yves Adams, a Belgian wildlife photographer, captured shots of the never before seen bird among thousands of black-and-white penguins back in 2019 on an expedition.
The photographer took over a year to release the priceless shots due to the sheer volume of pictures clicked, through which he had to painstakingly sort through.
Adams, who stumbled across the rare bird in the midst of a two-month expedition on a South Atlantic island, said: “I’d never seen or heard of a yellow penguin before.
“There were 120,000 birds on that beach, and this was the only yellow one there.”
Adams stopped on an island in South Georgia to photograph a colony of at least 120,000 king penguins, and spotted the bright plumage.
He said: “They all looked normal except for this one. It really was something else. It was an incredibly unique experience.
“One of the birds looked really strange, and when I looked closer it was yellow. We all went crazy when we realised. We dropped all the safety equipment and grabbed our cameras.
“We were so lucky the bird landed right where we were. Our view wasn’t blocked by a sea of massive animals. Normally it’s almost impossible to move on this beach because of them all.”
He said it was a “leucistic” penguin, whose cells no longer create melanin, so its black feathers become a yellow and creamy colour.
“It was heaven that he landed by us. If it had been 50 metres away, we wouldn’t have been able to get this show of a lifetime.”
Scientists suspect the sighting represents the discovery of a new class of feather pigment.
In 2012, a “white” penguin was spotted in a chinstrap penguin colony in Antarctica.
Its condition was thought to be from a genetic mutation that dilutes pigment in penguins’ feathers.
Researcher Daniel Thomas told the Smithsonian Insider: “Penguins use the yellow pigment to attract mates and we strongly suspect that the yellow molecule is synthesised internally.
(It’s) distinct from any of the five known classes of avian plumage pigmentation and represents a new sixth class of feather pigment.”
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"This may be due to a genetic condition of partial loss of pigmentation in feathers known as leucistic," the Galapagos National Park said.
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