- A long lost bird has been sighted in Brazil after a 75-year absence
- The Blue-eyed Ground-dove’s (Columbina cyanopis) is found only in Brazil’s cerrado.
- Conservationists are now scrambling to save the species.
A long-lost bird has been sighted in Brazil after a 75-year absence, reports BirdLife International.
The news broke last weekend at the Brazilian Birdwatching Festival when ornithologist Rafael Bessa presented evidence of the Blue-eyed Ground-dove‘s (Columbina cyanopis) existence, including photos and a recording of its song. His talk, titled “Species X” was well-received, according to the bird conservation group.
“When he played the video there was a commotion in the crowd and non-stop applause,” Pedro Develey, SAVE Brasil (BirdLife in Brazil), was quoted as saying by BirdLife. “It was pure emotion.”
Bessa isn’t disclosing where the bird was sighted, other than it was two locations in the state of Minas Gerais. Twelve individuals were documented. The last confirmed sighting prior to Bessa’s was in 1941.
BirdLife says Bessa and other researchers have been working secretly for months to document the rediscovery and develop a conservation plan to protect the species and its habitat. SAVE Brasil, Rainforest Trust, and Butantan Bird Observatory have been supporting the effort.
“We are now worried about the conservation of the species”, Bessa was quoted as saying. “We are working on several fronts to build this plan. The main action is to ensure that the area where it was found becomes a protected area, which would benefit not only the Blue-eyed Ground-Dove, but many other threatened species occurring there.”
The Blue-eyed Ground-Dove is found only in Brazil’s cerrado, a wooded savanna ecosystem that has been hard-hit by industrial agriculture, including cattle production and soy cultivation, in Brazil. The deforestation rate in the cerrado now outpaces that in the Amazon rainforest.