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Stone the crows! Rare white bird photographed in east Japan city

This photo provided by Motoi Okada shows a white crow that has recently been seen daily in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture.

TAKASAKI, Gunma -- A rare white crow that recently was spotted in this east Japan city was photographed by a lucky local man, with experts estimating the chance of a crow being white as probably around one in tens of thousands.

    Motoi Okada, 88, first spotted the white crow pecking at food along with black ones in a field in front of his house on the evening of May 21. Since then, he has been seeing the rare bird almost every evening.

    Okada said, "At first I didn't think it was a crow, and thought it might be a pigeon. I was surprised."

    Two albino carrion crows are being raised at a facility run by Niigata Prefecture that specializes in birds, but both have pure white bodies and reddish eyes. The one found in Takasaki is also believed to be a carrion crow, but its head is light brown and its eyes are black.

    Professor Shoei Sugita of Tohto University, who is an expert on crows, told the Mainichi Shimbun, "Since the head is brown, it is not a bird that has lost melanin pigment synthesis, but perhaps an animal that turned white due to weak synthesis. I receive information on white crows once every few years."

    (Japanese original by Tetsuya Shoji, Maebashi Bureau)

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