Spot the Odd One Out

Day Care: King Penguins, South Georgia Island, southern Atlantic Ocean
Photo: David C. Schultz used with permission

Standing out from the crowd is considered a merit among humans, while being the odd one out, which amounts to the same thing, is less desirable. Go figure. Birds probably couldn’t care less either way. The lone adult King Penguin shown above may look a little lightly dressed, but all it cares about is looking after the group of fat fluffy chicks he is wandering among. The chicks hold onto their warm, woolly brown coats to get through the winter until they are around a year old.

Kindergarten: Emperor Penguins, Snow Hill Island, Antarctica
Photo: David C. Schultz used with permission

Like their King Penguin counterparts, Emperor Penguin chicks join crèches after the first 40 or so days of being cared for by their parents. Each crèche may contain thousands of birds, which are able to huddle together, gaining protection from predators plus warmth in the freezing Antarctic temperatures. A few adult penguins stay behind to care for them, so a parent can leave its chick at a crèche while it catches fish at sea, returning occasionally during the winter to feed its offspring.

True Blue? Parrots, Safari Park, Bangkok, Thailand
Photo: Xohaib

The fact that there is an odd parrot out in this next picture has little to do with communal day care; it’s more likely just an example of the amazing variety nature throws up among species. The predominant colour of plumage in parrots tends to be green, though most species show some red or another colour in small quantities. In the picture above, however, even the no doubt less than silent majority seem to be bucking the trend, proudly wearing shades of blue and yellow.

Feeling Grey: Flamingos, Copenhagen Zoo, Denmark

Flamingos are so strongly associated with pink, it’s hard to think of them showing up in any other colour. Actually, though, young flamingos hatch with grey plumage, and adults range from light pink to bright red depending on the bacteria and carotene picked up in the aquatic food they eat. A well-fed, healthy flamingo is more vibrantly coloured and thus more desirable to the opposite sex, while a white or pale flamingo tends to be unhealthy or malnourished.

Showstopper: Purple Grenadier and Scaley Weavers, Okonjima, Namibia
Photo: mustard938

This show-stealer sticking out from the comparatively drab birds is a Purple Grenadier. It looks to be a male, identifiable by its cinnamon-coloured head and neck with a blue patch around the eye, while its rump is purplish blue and underparts mainly violet-blue. The Grenadier definitely likes the attention, though more likely from females of its own species than the Scaly Weavers it is surrounded by here.

Ugly Duckling: Ducks, Verona, Italy
Photo: pasma

And finally, a photo to bring a tear to the eye of those who remember the fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen from their childhood years. The ugly duckling here isn’t going to be growing up to be a big beautiful swan however; rather it looks as though it’s simply held onto its yellowish downy plumage longer than its peers. Still, nothing wrong with swimming against the current.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5