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Rare black-naped pheasant pigeon rediscovered after 140 years

Rare black-naped pheasant pigeon rediscovered after 140 years

Conservationists and environmentalists are rejoicing because scientists have rediscovered the black-naped pheasant pigeon after 140 years.

The rare bird was found in the forest of Papua New Guinea - on the western slope of Mount Kilkerran - the island's highest peak. The team interviewed locals and set up camera traps. After waiting for a month, the team found the supposedly lost bird in September, reported BBC.

Locals said the bird was spotted in an area with steep ridges and valleys. The large, ground-dwelling pigeon feeds on seeds and fallen fruit. Co-lead Jason Gregg said the team was meeting with hunters who had seen or heard the bird. One of them reported having heard the bird's distinctive calls (a drilling-like sound) several times. One of the cameras caught the bird walking right past it a few days before the team was scheduled to leave the island. It is the first time the bird has been documented by scientists since 1882.

Edge of Existence, a global conservation initiative, said the bird is endemic to Papua New Guinea's Fergusson Island. director of the lost birds' programme at the American Bird Conservancy, John C Mittermeier said the discovery felt like "finding a unicorn." "It is the kind of moment you dream about your entire life as a conservationist and birdwatcher," he added.

The eight-member expedition is part of The Search for Lost Birds. The collaboration between BirdLife International, Rewild, and American Bird Conservancy is working toward rediscovering bird species that have not been declared extinct but haven't been seen in over 10 years. Co-led by Mittermeier, the team currently has a list of 150.

The pheasant pigeon is a large terrestrial pigeon and its name is an ode to living on the forest floor like a South East Asian pheasant. It nests on the ground below trees and bushes.

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TAGS:Papua New Guineablack-naped pheasant pigeonrare bird
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