Rare bird spotted at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

A rare bird to the UK has been spotted at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in Dunstable. The Black-throated thrush (Turdus atrogularis) was first sighted on Wednesday, December 11, and has remained on site since.

The overseas visitor has a distinctive black throat and bright yellow beak – instantly alerting local birders to the rarity of the sighting. Native to Asia, the bird is a rare vagrant to western Europe.

Rare black-throated thrush bird captured by ZSL Whipsnade Zoo member (c) Anthony McGill

Rare black-throated thrush bird captured by ZSL Whipsnade Zoo member (c) Anthony McGill

It currently seems to be favouring a native berry bush near the children’s farm – Hullabazoo.

Tyrone Capel, Leader of the Native Biodiversity Group and Keeper at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo said: “ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is home to many amazing animals, and it’s wonderful that this bird has chosen us as a place to stay for the holidays!

“It’s been amazing to see the interest in this beautiful bird – we’ve welcomed 40 photographers and birders flock to us each day to see the bird after its location was posted on a local bird forum.

“Although the species has been seen in the UK before and is common throughout its range – it is an extremely rare sighting for the UK.

“The diverse habitats – from ancient woodlands to large lakes – of Whipsnade mean we often see rare birds and other wildlife around the Zoo – just last year we had a little egret (Egretta garzetta).

“We record all the rare native wildlife sightings in a database to help with national records of rare and endangered species.”