THE mystery of a rare bird which set up residence in Saltney has been solved.

It was believed the Purple Gallinule, first spotted on Balderton Brook last month, had flown all the way from India, but now its rightful owner has come forward.

The bird enthusiast, who has asked to remain anonymous, says the bird escaped from the aviary at his home in Saltney more than a month ago.

He said: “There’s a lot of controversy over this bird and where it’s come from, but it’s just out of my aviary. I’ve been trying to catch it, but it keeps flying off with the other birds.”

The elusive bird, which was last seen on a private lake in Broxton, near Chester two weeks ago, was one of two pairs kept by the bird owner.

“Two of them got out, but the cock came back,” he said.

“It was sat waiting at the gate for me. I have had them for two years and I got them from a friend of mine in Burnley who breeds them.”

The female bird, which has a distinctive purple plumage, has been causing quite a stir in the region. Twitchers have flocked from far and wide eager to catch a glimpse of the feathered creature.

But the owner, 69, who has the official DNA certificates to prove his ownership, says he can’t understand all the fuss.

“It’s a load of nonsense. They are rare and if you hadn’t seen one before you would probably wonder what it is, but it’s just a big moorhen really.”

He now says he has given up hope of ever geting it back.

He added: “I don’t think I’ll get it back now it’s out in the open. I think it will survive though because they eat a lot of the vegetation.”