Dusky tetraka: Joy as bird feared extinct spotted in Madagascar


A dusky tetraka.Image source, John C Mittermeier

Image caption,

It is said to be the first documented spotting since 1999

Bird lovers are celebrating after a species some feared extinct was spotted alive by scientists for the first time in 24 years.

The dusky tetraka is a songbird with a distinctive yellow throat that is native to Madagascar.

Three of them have been sighted in a rainforest in the island’s north-east, but in an unexpected habitat.

The ground-dwelling birds were in thick vegetation near a rocky river – perhaps a good spot to find grubs and insects.

“If dusky tetraka always prefer areas close to rivers, this might help to explain why the species has been overlooked for so long,” says ornithologist John Mittermeier who managed to take a photo of the rare bird.

He is the director of the lost birds programme at the American Bird Conservancy, which led this latest expedition in Madagascar.

The sighting of the dusky tetraka comes little over a year since it was called one of the 10 most-wanted birds on the “Search for Lost Birds” list – a collaboration between Re:wild, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and BirdLife International, with data support from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and its eBird platform.

Although the birds’ rainforest home is officially protected, the bird-watching expedition found that much of the forest had been converted into vanilla-producing farms, curtailing the dusky tetraka’s natural habitat.

Image source, John C Mittermeier

Image caption,

Lily-Arison Rene de Roland (left) led the expedition team which included Loukman (right), according to the American Bird Conservancy

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