Last seen in … birdwatchers asked to join hunt for world’s 10 rarest birds | Environment

Birdwatchers all over the world are being referred to as on to flip detective and assist in a search for among the rarest birds on Earth.

The worldwide Search for Lost Birds, launched at this time, presents researchers, conservationists and the worldwide birdwatching neighborhood with a Prime 10 Most Wished listing of birds which were misplaced to science, together with the Siau scops owl, which was final seen in 1866.

An illustration of a small brown owl with tufts of feathers that look like horns
The Siau scops owl, which was solely discovered on one island in Indonesia. Although not recorded in nearly two centuries, there have been rumours of an owl on Siau. Illustration: Lynx Edicions/Re:wild

“The Siau scops owl is thought from the small Indonesian island of Siau,” mentioned Roger Safford, of BirdLife Worldwide. “A stuffed specimen was introduced again to Europe in 1866, then nothing. Many of the forest on Siau has since been lower down.

“However there have been rumours of an owl on Siau. To discover a species that hasn’t been seen for over 150 years … think about that.”

The Most Wished listing, a joint effort between Re:wild, American Bird Conservancy and BirdLife International, additionally consists of the South Island kōkako in New Zealand, Peru’s Vilcabamba brush-finch and the Himalayan quail in northern India. The 10 birds are an extension of Re:wild’s Search for Lost Species programme, which was launched in 2017.

There has not been a documented sighting of any of the 10 birds in the wild for no less than a decade. Causes for their disappearance embody local weather change, habitat loss and logging, mining, looking and invasive species. However none are categorized as extinct on the IUCN purple listing of threatened species.

It’s hoped the search may very well be a catalyst for better conservation efforts. “Birds are declining globally, however some have seemingly vanished to science,” mentioned Barney Lengthy, at Re:wild. “If we all know the place these misplaced species are, we are able to put in conservation measures to preserve and get better them.”

Birdwatchers are being inspired to register any sightings of the 10 species on the eBird platform of Cornell College’s Lab of Ornithology.

“These Prime 10 misplaced birds are actually simply essentially the most excessive examples of gaps in our collective data about birds,” mentioned John C Mittermeier, at American Chicken Conservancy. “However there are various mysteries to clear up and findings to contribute which are extremely helpful for science and conservation.

(*10*)Illustration of a South Island kōkako, a black crow-like bird with blue and orange wattles
The South Island kōkako. Its shut relative’s profitable restoration on New Zealand’s North Island has raised hopes that it could be discovered for the primary time in 14 years. Illustration: Lynx Edicions/Re:wild

“Possibly there’s a neighborhood park the place nobody has recorded any latest chicken sightings; a species that hasn’t been confirmed breeding in your native state or county; or a city the place nobody has finished a Christmas chicken rely earlier than. In some instances, all it takes to verify the rediscovery of a misplaced species is a telephone digicam, as was the case with the black-browed babbler final 12 months.”

Two expeditions are deliberate subsequent 12 months to search for the Siau scops owl in Indonesia and dusky tetraka in Madagascar.

“The world’s birds aren’t in nice form,” mentioned Safford. “There are round 11,000 species on the planet, and practically half are declining. One in eight is threatened with extinction.”

The threats embody agriculture, logging, looking and trapping, invasive alien species, residential and industrial improvement, fireplace and the long-term risk of the local weather disaster, he mentioned.

“Birds don’t get the eye that giant mammals, like lions, tigers, elephants and pandas entice,” added Safford. “However birds play an enormous position in preserving ecosystems that people and life on this planet are a part of. Birds management pests, clear up waste and unfold seeds. Round 5% of crops that people use for meals or medication are pollinated by birds.”

Illustration of Jerdon’s courser, a beige bird with long legs, brown breast-bands, white throat and a blackish crown
Jerdon’s courser, a nocturnal chicken, was assumed to be extinct till its rediscovery round Lankamalai in Andhra Pradesh in 1986. Illustration: Lynx Edicions/Re:wild

Looking out for “misplaced” birds additionally presents potential knock-on results for nature. “In fact it issues whether or not Siau scops owl or different misplaced birds, just like the Negros fruit-dove, survive or not,” Safford mentioned.

“Each extinction issues. We must always do all in our energy to discover them once more. Assuming we succeed, we should then use what we study to preserve them and in addition assist the various different species that share the extraordinary locations the place they dwell.”

The Prime 10 Most Wished Misplaced Birds

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