It was a regular day in Borneo, Indonesia. Locals Muhammad Suranto and Muhammad Rizky Fauzan were randomly clicking photos of birds when they spotted something irregular! Before them was a bird they had never seen before. In fact, a bird no one alive right now had claimed to see before. They took some pictures of this rare, irregular bird, circulated it in their birdwatchers’ group and released the little one (bless them!). When these images reached bird experts, everyone was stunned. The first (and probably only) record of the existence of this bird had been in the 1840s by a naturalist Carl A L.M. Schwaner who had captured it on the island of Java. This bird had then been preserved, something that helped the present ornithologists Identify the Black-browed Babbler.
If you don’t know about Black-browed Babblers…
They are song birds. They had been believed to be extinct for almost two centuries, and were known as the “biggest enigma in Indonesian ornithology”. Yes, their sighting and disappearance was as mysterious! Experts weren’t even sure what these beauties looked like, what colour they were and how adorable they could be.
Why is this rediscovery being considered important in ornithology, and zoology in general?
Because the bird Black-browed Babbler had been found now on the island of Borneo, researchers realised that they had been looking in the wrong place, the Netherlands, for 175 years. LOL!
This rediscovery raises the question of whether it is at risk, and exactly how many of its species are chilling in Borneo.
This also makes us wonder how many species we believe extinct might actually still be alive(and hopefully thriving) in places where we never look for them.
Researchers who identified the bird are anxious to travel to Borneo to look at this bird with their very own eyes but, unfortunately, due to the pandemic, they will have to wait. Till then, they’re going to update the records of this rare feathers, scratch “extinct”, write “very much alive” and describe its appearance from the photo that started this all!
Are you excited about this rediscovery?
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