The emerald tanager photographed in Colombia has very special plumage that is blue on one side and green on the other. In 100 years of observation, this is only the second case of gynandromorphism reported in this species.
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It is a strange phenomenon of nature, and it is an extremely rare phenomenon, as a half-male and half-female bird was recently spotted between October 2021 and June 2023 in Colombia. The results of this discovery were published in December In the magazine Journal of Field Ornithology.
The colors of this little bird caught the attention of the bird world. He had time to get out his camera to immortalize this moment. This bird sits on a branch, and has very special feathers: half blue and the other half green. Both are well defined. Visually, it is very beautiful, but scientifically it says a lot about the peculiarity of this bird. This is a case of gynandromorphism, an animal that exhibits both male and female characteristics. In this case, in this bird called the emerald tanager, the green part corresponds to its female side and the blue part corresponds to its male side.
An unusual phenomenon among birds
We also observe this type of phenomenon in other animals, especially insects, butterflies and lizards, but for birds it is much rarer. During 100 years of observation, this was the second case reported in this species of bird. However, care must be taken not to confuse it with hermaphroditism, which corresponds to the presence of both male and female reproductive systems. Gynandromorphism applies to individuals in which one part of the body has masculine characteristics, and the other part has feminine characteristics. This phenomenon is associated with an error during fertilization. If we take the example of this bird in Colombia, it is possible that it has an ovary on the left and a testicle on the right, as has been observed in other birds.
Scientists have noticed that this half-blue, half-green bird tends to come and feed behind other birds, to live a little on the margins. The other Emerald Tanagers seemed to be avoiding him. It is also impossible to know whether a sample is sterile or not. In any case, it does not seem to have had the opportunity to reproduce. For the scientist publishing the results of this research, this case of gynandromorphism at least allows us to learn more about the sexual development of birds.
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