Rare bird spotted

The quelea is a sparrow-sized bird, common in huge flocks in many areas of Africa.
The quelea is a sparrow-sized bird, common in huge flocks in many areas of Africa.

Leader reader Dennis Collie sent us this photograph of a rare bird, spotted in Stonehaven during the recent windy weather.

Dennis told the Leader: "Was it coincidence that we spotted a red-billed quelea at our bird table the day after we had winds blowing in from the Sahara?

"Such a bird found in Scotland would normally have escaped from captivity, but is it possible that on this occasion it was carried all the way from Africa by the high winds?

"Spotting the bird I quickly reached for my camera, only to find the battery dead, but managed to find another poorer quality one and get a couple of shots before the quelea, fed, flew off.

"As can be seen from the picture, the quelea is a sparrow-sized bird, common in huge flocks in many areas of Africa.

"Our example was probably a non-breeding bird, with light underparts, striped brown upper parts, flight feathers edged in pale green, a reddish bill, orangey legs and a yellowish wash on the head and breast.

"It is thought to be the most numerous non-domesticated bird on earth, possibly totalling one-and-a-half billion individuals and frequently seen feeding in flocks of millions, earning it the name "Africa's feathered locust".