A tropical bird which was found washed up on a beach in the UK has been flown 5,000 miles back to its Caribbean home.
The red-footed booby bird was discovered underweight and dehydrated in St Leonards in September.
The bird, nicknamed Norman, underwent intensive care at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (RSPCA’s) Mallydams Wood in Hasting.
He spent time there under a heat lamp to ward off the cold and ate fish to build up his strength.
Mystery surrounds how the young bird managed to be blown off course and end up on the beach.
He is now settling in at a nature reserve in the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean following a 12 hour British Airways flight.
Mallydams wildlife rehabilitation team manager Richard Thompson said: “It is just fantastic to see Norman make his way home after the team here have worked so hard nursing him back to health and full strength.
“We are used to dealing with native seabirds here – like gulls and terns – but he is the first booby bird we have ever seen here at the RSPCA and the UK.
“It is amazing to think we’ve had a hand in his care.”
RSPCA wildlife vet Barbara Watson flew alongside Norman to keep an eye on his progress and carry out vet checks before and after the flight.
She said: “I never imagined in my career I would be asked to treat a booby bird as they have never been seen over here before. It is incredible to think how he got to the south coast of England.”