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Extraordinary yellow cardinal spotted in Florida

An ornithologist said the bird gets its yellow plumage from a mutation in how the red pigments are created.
Credit: Kristen Grace/Florida Museum
Yellow cardinal spotted in Gainesville, Florida

GAINESVILLE, Fla — A yellow cardinal has become a local sensation in Gainesville.

The yellow male Northern Cardinal is a "one-in-a-million," according to Dr. Andy Kratter, the ornithology collections manager at the Florida Museum.

USA Today is reporting while there are an estimated 15 million red cardinals across the eastern U.S., experts say there are about 10 to 15 yellow Cardinals flying around the region.

The bird is likely yellow and not red because of a mutation in how the red pigments are created.

“All carotenoids come from the foods that the birds eat, but every once in a while, a rare one-in-a-million mutation pops up in a male cardinal that creates a hiccup in the process that turns the carotenoids into yellow instead of red," Kratter added.

The yellow Cardinal was spotted by many photographers and birdwatchers back in March and Florida Museum photographer Kristen Grace was able to snap photos of the beauty. 

Credit: Kristen Grace/Florida Museum