Searching For Lost Birds

Posted on January 17th 2022

In December 2021 the Search for Lost Birds list was released, featuring 10 birds that haven’t been seen in the wild for at least 10 years. There is now a collaborative effort in progress between scientists, birdwatchers and conservationists to see if the birds can be spotted.

Joint Project

The project has jointly been put together by three organisations – American Bird Conservancy, BirdLife International and Re:wild.

Although the birds on the list have not been seen for years they have not yet been ruled as extinct. The lack of sightings could be due to their existence in remote and inaccessible places, or the fact that there have been no studies in the areas that they exist.

It might be hard to finally state that a bird is extinct but if that is the case it might be due to hunting, habitat destruction, or climate change.

Rare list

The rarest on the list is the Siau scops-owl, last seen in 1866 in Indonesia, closely followed by the Himalayan qual, not recorded as being seen since 1877 when it was spotted in India. Others on the list include the Vilcabamba brush-finch last seen in 1968 in Peru; the South Island koakako from New Zealand, last see in 2007; the Cuban kite, last seen in Cuba in 2010; and the dusky tetraka that was last seen on Madagascar in 1999.

Support needed

If any are spotted, conservationists hope to protect and support them so that populations can be revived. This is a practice that has happened regularly in the past 20 years, with the likes of the Brazilian blue eyed ground dove and the Madagascan pochard, thought to be extinct, now increasing in numbers.


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