Friday, June 13, 2008

Woodpecker redicovered after 80 years

The Caatinga woodpecker (Celeus obrieni) has until now been known from a single specimen collected in Brazil 1926. It's a handsome brown-and-tan bird with a white belly and a showy crown of red feathers. Without a second specimen or even a reported sighting of the species in over 80 years, though, extinction was widely presumed. But now we do have a new specimen, discovered in the Tocantins region by Brazilian ornithologist Advaldo do Prado. Stuart Butchart of BirdLife International commented, “Caatinga woodpecker and rediscoveries like it provide hope for other South American birds currently missing and feared extinct, some of which haven’t been seen for over 150 years.”

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