Rare, endangered bird not seen for 140 years – only caught on video, scientists say

A bird has been photographed on the island of Papua New Guinea, the first document of the animal since 1882. For the first time in 140 years, a black-skinned pheasant-pigeon has been captured by a research team with a remotely set camera trap. search for missing birds is underway.

Publika.az reports that the expedition group working within the “Search for Lost Birds” was looking for the bird on Ferguson Island for a month.

The Search for Lost Birds is a collaboration of three conservation and bird groups: Re:wild, founded by Leonardo DiCaprio and a group of conservation scientists, the American Bird Conservancy, and BirdLife International, a 115-nation NGO.

The group installed 12 cameras on Mount Kilkerran, Ferguson’s highest mountain. This was the first camera capture survey conducted on the island, and the mountainous terrain made it difficult. They also installed eight more cameras where hunters reported seeing the bird earlier.

A species of black-crested pheasant pigeon, lost to science since 1882, has been rediscovered after camera traps set by an expedition team with Search for Lost Birds in Papua New Guinea photographed the large ground-dwelling bird in Papua New Guinea. Guinea.

Doka Nason/American Bird Conservancy


“Until we reached the villages on the western slopes of Mount Kilkerran, we started meeting hunters who saw and heard pheasants and doves,” said Jason Gregg, a conservation biologist and co-leader of the expedition. statement. “We became more confident about the bird’s local name, ‘Auwo’, and felt that we were approaching the prime habitat of the black-backed pheasant-pigeon.”

After a hunter in a local village pointed out where to see the bird—an area with steep ridges and ravines—the team set up cameras on a 3,200-foot ridge. The images of the black naked pheasant-pigeon were taken from here.

They spotted the bird roaming the forest floor – just two days before the team left.

“When we finally found the black-crested pheasant pigeons, it was in the final hours of the expedition,” said Doka Nason, who set up the camera trap that photographed the lost bird. “When I saw the photos, I was incredibly excited.”

Little is known about the species, but its population in Ferguson is believed to be small and declining. The bird “has a broad and laterally compressed tail, which, along with its tail size, closely resembles a pheasant,” the press release said.

There have been several previous attempts to locate the bird, including a two-week survey in 2019, which has aided the search.

The team says the bird is extremely rare, and the rugged and inaccessible forest they found “may be the last stronghold for black-headed pheasant pigeons in Ferguson.”

According to BirdLife International, the black-skinned pheasant-pigeon is considered critically endangered. Only Fergusson Island, part of the D’Entrecasteaux Archipelago east of Papua New Guinea, is considered native. Previously, only two samples were studied – in 1882.