Rare albino pheasant spotted in Devon fields

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Media captionSharp-eyed drivers near Yealmpton have seen a rare albino pheasant in the surrounding fields

It is that spooky time of year and as if on cue, a ghostly presence has been seen stalking the fields of Devon.

Sharp-eyed travellers on the A379 near Yealmpton have seen a rare albino pheasant in the surrounding fields.

Plumed in white feathers, it makes a contrast to the common brown birds.

David George of the National Farmers Union, said: "It seems appropriate that this rather unusual, spectre-like pheasant has put in an appearance at Halloween.

"Hopefully it hasn't given anyone too much of a fright."

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But if birds of a feather flock together, where are its friends?

You are unlikely to see many of these said Rufus Sage, head of lowland gamebird research at the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.

"It's an albino pheasant, a fairly rare genetic mutation or phenotype whereby the body can't make colour," he said.

"It can occur in lots of animals including humans of course.

"Interestingly the male will keep its red wattles and you can sort of see that."

Devon ornithologist Rodney Bone, who started bird watching nearly 60 years ago, said: "I've never seen an albino pheasant in all those years.

"It would be quite a treat to see one and for anyone interested in birds, so I hope it comes my way."

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