A MISSING exotic bird could stand a chance of surviving the cold weather in Colchester, according to an expert.

A bird expert from the British Trust for Ornithology believes it could be possible for the missing Colchester Zoo rainbow lorikeet to survive the wintery conditions.

Over the next few days it could get as low as -3c in parts of Colchester, according to the Met Office. 

The popular rainbow lorikeet, originating from Australia, made its way out of its aviary after landing on a member of the public as they left its walk-in enclosure on Saturday.

Nick Moran, training manager at the BTO based in Thetford, said: “We can’t be certain, but it has got a chance of surviving in the wild here. If it survives the winter, it could continue out in the wild.

“Rainbow lorikeets feed on nectar and fruit, which means they are going to potentially struggle here in winter as there isn’t going to be any pollen and nectar.

Echo: Beautiful: rainbow lorikeet at Colchester ZooBeautiful: rainbow lorikeet at Colchester Zoo (Image: Tom Smith)

“They could eat seeds and fruit as well, but this bird won’t have knowledge of local food sources which could make it difficult for it.”

The expert said there is a chance the escaped rainbow lorikeet could show up in a resident’s garden when they are feeding birds.

Mr Moran said: “I don’t think it would be immediate doom for the lorikeet.

“It’s a race against time for it to learn very quickly where it can get food from.”

Echo: Expert: Nick Moran from the British Trust for OrnithologyExpert: Nick Moran from the British Trust for Ornithology (Image: Nick Moran)

A spokesman for the zoo said: “Staff remain on watch and we will continue to do everything we can to get the lorikeet back safely.”

One of Colchester Zoo's rainbow lorikeets fled its walk-in enclosure on Saturday after a visitor exited the curtained site with the bird.

The member of public was said to have left through the entrance curtains after the bird had landed on them.

Whilst standing in the foyer area, they then asked the keeper to remove the bird but, before the keeper could get to it, it flew off through the doors.

Echo: The entrance to Colchester ZooThe entrance to Colchester Zoo (Image: Colchester Zoo)

A spokesman for Colchester Zoo said: “The bird flew into nearby tall trees and when keepers attempted to clear the area and get some ladders to entice the bird down, it flew off towards the back of the zoo.

“Keepers assembled to try and get it to fly back towards the zoo as they could see it, but to no avail."

The birds can fly up to 40 miles a day and at speeds of 50kmph. 

It means the bird could have travelled as far as places like the south coast, Isle of Wight, France and the Netherlands.