Rare ‘white red kite’ is spotted by Abercegir farmer | CTlive.info - South Africa News

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Media captionWhite red kite is spotted over Powys farmland

A rare white-coloured kite has been spotted in Powys.

However, it is unclear whether it is a leucist (white red kite), of which there are only about six in Wales, or a kite with albinism.

Farmer Sioned Thomas, of Abercegir, near Machynlleth, spotted it while feeding sheep on Tuesday.

Wildlife presenter Iolo Williams said such kites were also “extremely rare”, and it was “impossible” to tell from a video which it was.

“I saw this big white bird, just above me and it stood out straight away, because it was completely white,” said Ms Thomas.

“I thought it was a seagull at first, but then I saw her forked tail. Upon closer inspection, I could see that she looked exactly like a red kite, only white.

Image caption Farmer Sioned Thomas initially thought it was a seagull

“I see red kites here every day, but I’ve never seen one like this.”

Two white red kites were spotted nearby in 2004 – the pair were believed to be one of only 10 in Wales.

There was also a sighting in Aberporth, Ceredigion, in 2011.

Leucism is caused by a partial loss of pigmentation, resulting in white feathers on a bird.

Unlike albinism, it is caused by a reduction in multiple types of pigment, not just melanin.

One noticeable difference between the two conditions is that animals with albinism typically have red eyes, while leucistic animals have usual-coloured eyes.

After seeing footage on social media, presenter Iolo Williams said it looked like a “white kite”.

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He said: “I think this is a white kite. There are a handful of white red kites (leucistic) around the country but I’ve never seen one as white as this.”

In addition, he said: “An albino kite is extremely rare, but it is impossible to tell from the video if this is an example of one.”

Red kite enthusiast Elfyn Pugh, who lives near Machynlleth, said: “Seeing a white kite in this area is very rare and I’ve certainly never seen one.

“From what I can remember when I recorded kite numbers, there were only about six in Wales in total.

“That’s around one in every 300. They might be even rarer now.”