Spectacular drone footage has captured an incredibly rare albino humpback whale calf swimming alongside its mother off the coast of Australia.
Mark Zucconi, 53, was taking his drone for a spin on the shores of Macmasters Beach in New South Wales on July 11, when he came across an unusual sight.
After getting a closer glimpse, the father-of-two, from Kincumber, spotted two whales, one of which was an albino calf believed to be between 13 to 16 months old.
Quite a sight: Dad-of-two Mark Zucconi was using his drone when he came across two humpback whales on the shores of Macmasters Beach in NSW
After getting a closer glimpse, he realised he spotted two whales, one of which was an albino humpback calf believed to be around 13 to 16 months old
Mr Zucconi believes he may have captured one of only five known white whales in the world.
‘There are so many whales going past at the moment – it’s amazing,’ Mr Zucconi told the Central Coast Express Advocate.
‘I was really excited when I saw it – there were 20 people all crowded around me trying to see.’
The sighting has sparked speculation the animal could be the offspring of famous Migaloo, however experts say it is difficult to confirm.
President of whale research group ORRCA Jaqueline O’Neil said the newborn whales are usually a light grey colour and may look white in the sunlight.
Migaloo is known to make appearances on the Australian coast at this time of year.
The 40-tonne, 15-metre humpback typically turns up in New Zealand in late June before heading to Cape Byron or the Gold Coast in late July.
However, a photo believed to be Migaloo appeared on Twitter on June 21, meaning he could have started his annual migration a few weeks early.
Migaloo, an Aboriginal word meaning ‘whitefella’, swims up the east coast of Australia between June and November.
As the winter waters of Antarctica become too cold, he seeks out warmer climes to mate, before making the return journey.
White whales are incredibly rare as there are only five known in the whole world
It is possible the fascinating sea creature could be related to iconic rare white whale Migaloo
Migaloo (pictured) the 40-tonne, 15-metre humpback albino whale, typically turns up in New Zealand in late June before heading to Cape Byron or the Gold Coast in late July
Migaloo is often seen in the waters off Port Douglas, around one hour to the north of Cairns, and has become a popular tourist attraction.
The creature was first sighted in 1991 when he was the only known white whale in the world.
Migaloo is protected under Australian law and part of Australia’s east coast humpback population that has been brought back from the brink of extinction following the halting of whaling in the early 1960s.
Whale watchers hoping to catch a glimpse of the Migaloo can track his annual travels using the White Whale Reseacrh Centre online system