I don’t think so!. Yes, I know the Daily Mail is unreliable, but a moment’s consideration would show that this, touted as a rare, two-headed pelican (headline: “Talk about a double-header! Amazing photograph shows pelican with TWO HEADS in flight!”), is either an early April Fool’s joke or massive journalistic incompetence. (The “Caters News Agency,” which provided the photo, is real.)
Two heads are always better than one, the saying goes, although one feathered fowl may disagree.
A pelican that appears to have two heads was captured in flight over the Danube River by a lucky Ukrainian photographer earlier this month.
The image was taken by Vladimir Kucherenko in the Danube Delta, Europe’s largest and best preserved delta which is a host to 300 species of birds.
Forget about the ungrammatical headline, implying that only the heads are in flight; the piece goes on to report other cases of two-headed pelicans and quotes the Massachusetts Audubon Society as saying that such birds aren’t expected to live long in the wild. And there’s a bit of developmental biology as well:
The development of two heads in an animal could be the result of random chance, exposure to chemicals or a complication during the gestation period that prevents a pair of embryos from splitting.
Here it is!!!
Apparently they didn’t notice it has four wings as well. What a mutant!
And how many readers will believe this? A lot, I bet.
h/t: Matthew Cobb