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A bird that’s half-male, half-female? Now that’s something!2 min read

October 11, 2020 2 min read


A bird that’s half-male, half-female? Now that’s something!2 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

On September 24, researchers studying birds in Pennsylvania, USA, made an unusual, but exciting discovery. They found a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak – a type of bird – with some strange colouring on its feathers.

The gynandromorph Rose-Breasted Grosbeak. Pic: Annie Lindsay

On one side of its body, the bird had bright red feathers, which is found in male birds, and on the other side, yellow feather, found in female birds.

The researchers then understood that this bird is very special – a ‘bilateral gynandromorph’. This basically means that the bird is half male and half female!

Even the length of the wing on the right side – the male side – was longer, which is one definite way of telling the difference between male and female birds. But, whether these birds can lay eggs, is uncertain.

What is gynandromorphy?

A gynandromorph has both male and female features, is most commonly used in the study of insects, or entomology. Butterflies, moths and other insects often develop this condition.

This Kentish Glory Moth is half male, half female. (Pic: Pinterest)

What makes bilateral gynandromorphs even more interesting is that the male and female features are separated right down in the middle of the body.

An Atlantic Lobster with bilateral gynandromorphy (Pic: Pinterest)

In birds, this condition is rare, but has been seen in some snakes and lobsters. Among insects though, the condition is very common.

Watch this video to learn more about this condition.