Rare half-male, half-female cardinal spotted by bird lovers
Saturday, February 2, 2019, 2:06 PM - Many bird watchers spend their days spotting frequent visitors and local species, but Shirely and Jeffrey Caldwell were lucky to see a rare half-male, half-female cardinal in their backyard.
National Geographic reports that Shirely and Jeffrey are bird-lovers that have enjoyed maintaining backyard feeders on their property for 25 years.
Shirely spotted this rare visitor from her kitchen window and was able to capture numerous images of the unique bird.
The bird's unique appearance is due to a developmental anomaly known as bilateral gynandromorph, which means that half of it's body is female (indicated by the taupe colour) and half is male (the red side).
This anomaly typically occurs when a female egg cell develops with two nuclei that then is fertilized twice by sperm that is carrying two male chromosomes.
Bilateral gynandromorph can occur in a variety of species, including birds, insects, and crustaceans, as seen below:
Mosaic gynandromorph of Papilio androgeus. Credit: Wikimedia Commons