‘Rare’ cardinal appears male on one side, female on the other


A cardinal caught recently in central Texas has a rare abnormality that causes it to have female feathers on one side of its body and male on the other.

The Inland Bird Banding Association posted several pictures of the unique bird on its Facebook page.

It says the bird shows apparent bilateral gynandromorphism, which causes the bird to have an ovary and a testis.

A similar cardinal was spotted about a year ago in Pennsylvania. Jeffery and Shirley Caldwell told National Geographic they’ve been attracting birds for decades but never seen anything like the half-vermillion and half-taupe cardinal before.

Postdoctoral fellow Daniel Hooper at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology sent an email to National Geographic to talk more about the condition.

Hooper said because male cardinals are so distinct looking with their bright red plumage, it’s easier for people to notice when they look different.

Earlier this fall, an extremely rare yellow cardinal, born out of a DNA mutation, was spotted in Port St. Lucie. It was nicknamed “Sunny.”

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