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Scientists capture first photos of extremely rare birds

Scientists capture first photos of extremely rare birds

Scientists capture first photos of extremely rare birds
July 6, 2007

[Please note: It has now been revealed that pictures of the recurve-billed bushbird were captured earlier than claimed by the American Bird Conservancy. Pictures of the bird were apparently taken in 2004 in Venezuela. Thanks to Simon S for this information.]

Scientists have captured the first pictures of one of the world’s rarest birds: the recurve-billed bushbird (Clytoctantes alixii), a species found exclusively in bamboo forests of northeastern Colombia.

Recurve-billed bushbird photos by Fundación ProAves

The photos were taken in the department of Santander by Adriana Tovar and Luis Eduardo Urueña of ProAves, the Colombian partner of the American Bird Conservancy.

The recurve-billed bushbird was rediscovered in 2004 in Venezuela after a 40-year absence. Scientists estimate that only a few dozen of the birds remain.

“Whenever a new bird species is found or a species that was thought to be lost is rediscovered, it gives us all hope and encouragement”, said Paul Salaman, director of international programs at the American Bird Conservancy. “But as more and more remote areas are being settled, the bushbird reminds us how important it is to conserve as much natural habitat as we can. Who knows what wonderful biodiversity is being destroyed before it has had a chance to be discovered?”

Perija Parakeet photos by Fundación ProAves

The area of forest in Colombia were the bird was sighted in 2005 was declared an Important Bird Area in 2005, leading to visits by ornithologists. In late 2006, ProAves established the 250-acre Hormiguero de Torcoroma Bird Reserve to protect the Recurve-billed Bushbird and other endemic species.

ProAves also announced the first photos of the Perija Parakeet (Pyrrhura caeruleiceps) in the wild. The colorful species, which has a distinctive blue nape and white breast, is threatened by illegal bird traders and habitat disturbance and loss, according to the American Bird Conservancy.

The Perija Parakeet is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

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