A RARE bird which had taken up residence in Saltney has been recaptured by its owner.

The purple gallinule descended on Balderton Brook a week ago and caused quite a stir among bird enthusiasts.

Twitchers from as far away as Stoke flocked to the town with their binoculars to catch a glimpse of the bird, which it was believed could have travelled from India.

But it turned out to be owned by a local keeper, who yesterday recaptured his escaped pet and took him back to his aviary.

Reg Thorpe, from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, told the Leader: “It is thought the owner has four purple gallinule birds.

“Two of the birds escaped from their cage around three weeks ago.

While one found his way home fairly quickly, the other was still missing.“Once the owner had claimed his bird, we verified his story and he was able to take it home.”

The bird, otherwise known as a grey-headed swamp hen, was becoming popular with local residents.

Saltney councillor Veronica Gay said: “He is very colourful and so content when I see him.

“He is lovely and just likes to potter around near the brook.

“He has giant feet and likes to wade across the water.”

With a distinctive purple plumage that covers the whole body, the bird’s usual
habitat is the marshlands of France and Spain and the lily beds of Asia.