A rare sea duck crash landed into the garden of a house near Horsham after being blown off course.
The all-dark duck - a ‘common scoter’ - was rescued by the RSPCA after a worried caller alerted the animal charity.
The bird was discovered in the garden of a property in Broadbridge Heath and appeared to be unresponsive and did not want to fly. It was taken to the RSPCA’s Mallydams Wood Wildlife Centre in Hastings.
RSPCA inspector Andrew Kirby said: “I was quite surprised when I realised what type of bird this was, and it’s quite an unusual collection for the RSPCA. It’s not a bird I have ever been called to deal with before.”
Mallydams spokesman Richard Thompson said: “The scoter is doing well. He has a small fracture on the top of the keel bone, which was probably caused when he crash landed.
“Fortunately this will heal quite well. We’ve also washed the scoter in order to remove contamination and ensure that when he goes back on the water he is fully-waterproofed.
“He’s now out in one of pools and is showing great improvement, all being well we hope that we can release him as early as next week.
“I am so pleased that we have been able to rehabilitate him successfully so that he can then be released back to the wild.”
The UK breeding population of common scoters has declined and the breed is now a Red List species.
It is also protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. One of the main threats to the duck are oil spills as wintering populations are particularly vulnerable to these, as well as habitat degradation.