Tuesday, March 07, 2017

New bird flaps in

A long quest has resulted in the finding of a bird ornithologist Gary Stiles spotted twenty years ago - but which science has never seen since. The alto de pisones tapaculo of Columbia is a small black bird, certainly not a very numerous one, but an important addition to the roster of avian species. It's not unusual for scientific efforts to track down once-spotted species in remote areas to last this long, or much longer.  Indeed, some birds, like John James Audubon's carbonated swamp warbler in the U.S. A colorful little bird, it was collected by the great ornithologist in 1811 but never seen since, and the specimens are missing. 

If this warbler was a real species and not some sort of hybrid or fluke, it must have been in its last days of existence - but we will never be sure. (Image below: public domain)

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