Holly Neill

Adorable Rare White Tauhou Caught On Camera By Eagle-Eyed Photographer

One might assume that pandemic lockdowns would put a damper on the adventures of wildlife photographers, but Holly Neill proved that you can spot an incredible sight without travelling far from home.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that she lives in New Zealand, which is well-known for its unique and wonderful wildlife.

Holly's chance to document her encounter was almost missed.

Holly Neill

Like many of us, Holly has been working at home and took to walking around the block for exercise. On one of those walks, she thought she spotted an unusually-colored tauhou, but didn't have her camera with her.

Also called a waxeye or silvereye, tauhous are small songbirds common throughout New Zealand and Australia.

Holly Neill

Normally, they are olive green and gray, with the distinctive white or silver ring around their eyes that gives them their name.

Their Maori name "tauhou" references the fact that they arrived in the 1800s, after a large migrational shift from Australia to New Zealand happened, possibly due to weather. Tauhou means "stranger" or "new arrival."

The tauhou Holly thought she saw was mostly white, with bright yellow wings and head.

Holly Neill

For a week, she made sure to carry her camera on her walks, hoping to spot the bird again and when she was lucky enough to do so, she snapped plenty of photos.

The little bird has leucism, which is similar to albinism, but affects only some coloration rather than the entire body.

In this case, the usual gray was a pure white and the olive green had shifted to a buttercup yellow.

Holly Neill

Though some leucistic birds might be ostracized by the flock, this one was happily hanging out with a bunch of his brethren and seemed healthy and happy.

If you'd like to see more of Holly Neill's lovely wildlife photography, you can follow her on Instagram @hollyneill or visit her website.