The black-browed babbler, a bird that was last seen in the 1840s, has been rediscovered in the rainforests of Borneo, Indonesia recently.
Two local men, Muhammad Suranto and Muhammad Rizky Fauzan, came across a bird they did not recognise when they were out in the forest in the South Kalimantan province of Indonesia in October last year. But, they did manage to capture some photos of this bird before they released it back in the wild.
Subsequently, they sent the photos of this bird to birdwatching groups and ornithologists only to realize what a treasure they had unearthed!
“It feels surreal to know that we have found a species of bird presumed by experts to be extinct,” said Rizky Fauzan. “We didn’t expect it to be that special at all – we thought it was just another bird that we simply have never seen before.”
Panji Gusti Akbar, of the Indonesian ornithological group Birdpacker, who was the lead author of a paper detailing the bird’s rediscovery, said: “This sensational finding confirms that the black-browed babbler comes from south-eastern Borneo, ending the century-long confusion about its origins.
“We now also know what the black-browed babbler really looks like. The photographed bird showed several differences from the only known specimen, specifically the colour of the iris, bill and leg. These three parts of a bird’s body are known to lose their tint and are often artificially coloured during the taxidermy process.”
This mystery bird was last spotted in the 1840s on an expedition to the East Indies, when Charles Lucien Bonaparte, the nephew of Napoleon, named it the black-browed babbler (Malacocincla perspicillata).
Ornithologists and conservationists now plan to visit the site where the bird was rediscovered as soon as the coronavirus pandemic restrictions ease up.
Isn’t this an absolutely fascinating discovery? What do you think? Let us know your views in the comments section below.