Mystery surrounds Tangmere exotic bird sighting

This bird, which appears to be a violet turaco, was spotted in Tangmere.
This bird, which appears to be a violet turaco, was spotted in Tangmere.

If you took part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch recently you may have seen starlings, blackbirds and pigeons in your garden but one Tangmere resident has had a more exotic visitor.

Ivor Harrison opened his curtains on Sunday (February 10) morning and found himself face to beak with what appears to be a violet turaco.

The violet turaco is native to West Africa and lives on a fruit-based diet. There have been examples of turacos being spotted living in the wild in Britain, most commonly the white-cheeked turaco, after escaping from captivity.

Ivor said: “I opened up the curtains yesterday morning when I came down and it was one of those double takes, you know? I couldn’t believe it.

“When it opened its wings up it had this really bright red plummage underneath.”

When trying to find out where it may have came from, he contacted Birdworld in Farnham in case it was an escapee.

“Birdworld have a system where if there are any lost birds within any conservation place like Birdworld they get in touch with each other. They haven’t had any reports throughout the nation of this bird being missing and there was no ring on the foot.”

It wasn’t just Ivor that found it fascinating. He said: “We are members of the Wetland Wildlife Trust and we took our camera down to them yesterday. We were showing people there and we had quite a gathering of people looking at it. It’s quite unique.”

Concerned about the bird’s welfare and if it is capable of surviving in the British wilderness, Ivor is trying to find its home. He registered his discovery on petslocated.com so, if you recognise the bird, you can find more details by filling in the lost pet form there.