Rare Songbird Spotted For The First Time In 24 Years

When it comes to the world of animal conservation, the news is often more negative than positive. So many species are pushed toward the brink of extinction every single day, but conservationists are hard at work to combat this.

Thankfully, recent news from Madagascar is quite positive: a rare and elusive songbird has been spotted for the first time in 24 years!

Photo: Flickr/Frank Vassen License: CC BY 2.0

According to a press release from Bird Life International, the last documented sighting of the dusky tetraka was back in 1999.

According to eBird, the dusky tetraka (Xanthomixis tenebrosa) is native to Madagascar and has been known to inhabit the floor of a handful of sites in the northeastern rainforest. However, it’s eluded scientists for 24 long years, but the search the species is finally over.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Hector Bottai License: CC BY-SA 4.0

John C. Mittermeier, the Director of The Search for Lost Birds through the American Bird Conservancy, took to Twitter to share his excitement about the discovery.

He tweeted: “Woweeee! Pure excitement and relief best describes how Lily-Arison Rene de Roland, Loukman Kalavah and I felt after nine days of searching for the lost Dusky Tetraka in the mountains of Madagascar last month.”

The dusky tetraka was one of the top 10 most wanted birds by the Search for Lost Birds.

According to the press release from Bird Life Interational, the research team had to “drive for more than 40 hours and hike for half a day up steep mountains to the last spot the bird had been seen.”

It was the first time ornithologists had been at that site since 1999, but after months of searching for the species, the team decided to make the trek and give it a chance. Unfortunately, when they arrived at the spot, they discovered it had largely been destroyed to create vanilla farmland.

Despite the loss of habitat, the species somehow managed to survive and days into the expedition, researchers caught their first glimpse of one.

In the end, the researchers found not one but two dusky tetraka birds. Both specimens were observed “in dense vegetation close to the river, presumably looking for insects and other prey in the damp undergrowth.”

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