A PIGEON expert has identified a pink bird spotted in Bolton as a Tippler — but admits he has no idea why it is such as unusual colour.

Terry Dawber, secretary at the North West Homing Union, says that pigeon fanciers would call the colour red, not pink — but added the colour pattern is rare.

He added that some fanciers dye their pigeons to distinguish which are the better flyers.

And it seems the unusual bird is on the move as it has been spotted elsewhere in Breightmet.

Joanne Carney of Crossdale Road took a snap of the pigeon in her back garden last Thursday.

Local resident David Taylor captured the unusual looking bird in Tetbury Drive at about 8am on Friday.

Since the photograph featured in The Bolton News, it has baffled residents as to why it has such brightly coloured feathers — one saying it might have been dyed the colours of the St George’s flag to represent England in the World Cup.

Mr Dawber said: “Tipplers are bred for their flying endurance and ability. Looking at the photograph, the bird has got a normal coloured head of what we call a 'light print' Tippler, but the coloured sections are definitely 'pink' — or as we pigeon men would call it, red.

“To have that colour pattern occurring naturally is very rare indeed. It does happen with the racing pigeons and some call it a 'mosaic', but that is up to the pigeon man concerned.

“It has been known for some fanciers over in East Lancashire to dye their pigeons plumage and this is done so that when the birds are flying they can distinguish between the individual birds and how good they fly. ”

Back in February a bright pink pigeon was spotted in Darlington and back in 2012 a similar bird was seen in Ealing, west London.

Tippler facts

  • A Tippler is a breed of domestic pigeon which is bred to participate in endurance competitions.
  • The sport of seeing which bird can fly the longest originated from England in 1840.
  • Tipplers are very intelligent birds and can be trained to fly long hours and drop only when the trainer asks them to.
  • Flying results of up to 22 hours non stop have been reported, which makes it the most outstanding endurance-flying breed in recorded existence.