DOZENS of bird watchers have descended on East Lancashire in the past week after a sighting of a rare, colourful bird.

Twitchers have been getting a glimpse of the rose-coloured starling in the Lockyer Avenue area of Burnley.

The starling is one of only three in the UK at the moment and has attracted bird fanatics from across the country.

Allan Rycroft, a bird watcher from Cliviger, said: “I have never seen one of these before, I was even considering going down south to try and get a sighting, so to have one on my own doorstep is fantastic.

“There have been quite a few bird watchers going for a look over the past week. The local residents have been fascinated by it — they thought it was a pink magpie at first.”

There are only two other rose-coloured starlings in the UK at the moment — one in Scotland and one in Suffolk.

Mr Rycroft said: “I’m not sure what brought it to this area but they are very rare in the UK.”

Writing on his bird watching blog, Austin Morley, from Chester, said: “The bird was loafing around with some locals beside Woodbine Gardens and appeared to be feeding in a private garden.

“We got some funny looks from the residents and a few people stopping us and asking ‘what are you looking for?’ We told them we twitchers descend when a special bird turns up.”

The bird’s usual breeding range is from eastern Europe and southern Asia.


Rose-coloured starlings factfile

  • The rose-coloured starling is highly distinctive, with its pink body, pale orange legs and bill
  • It is a strong migrant, and winters in India and tropical Asia
  • The song is a typical starling mixture of squeaks and rattles, given with much wing trembling
  • Males in the breeding season have elongated head feathers
  • In Xinjiang, China, farmers found that rose-coloured starlings would fly to the farms and feed on locusts
  • The rose-coloured starling breeds most strongly in eastern Europe