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Featured video: world’s only video of extinct 2-foot-long imperial woodpecker

Newly-discovered video has brought the extinct imperial woodpecker (Campephilus imperialis) back to life—at least for a few seconds. Once the world’s largest woodpecker (even bigger than the ivory-billed woodpecker, which may also be extinction), the imperial woodpecker vanished after it’s native old-growth pine forest habitat in Mexico was logged. It also suffered widespread hunting for folk remedies and recreation.

The world’s only video of this giant woodpecker, photographed in 1956 has been restored by Cornell University, allowing a fleeting glimpse at a once remarkable bird.

Although no imperial woodpecker has been confirmed in over half-a-century, the IUCN Red List still categorizes the species as Critically Endangered. Few believe it still survives, but research has shown the bird may have made it to the 1990s before taking its last flight.

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