The Shy Pigeon

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Scientists recently caught sight of a chicken-sized bird that hadn’t been seen in the mountainous tropical forests of Papua New Guinea for more than a century, the Washington Post reported.

The black-naped pheasant-pigeon was first identified in 1883 and since then has become the stuff of legend.

Ornithologists had presumed that the creature had gone extinct, but its recent “re-discovery” shows there’s some hope for the elusive avian.

A research team discovered the bird on Papua New Guinea’s Fergusson Island thanks to the help of Indigenous communities and local hunters. To do so, the team placed 20 camera traps around the 555-square-mile island where locals said they’d seen or heard the bird.

After numerous shots and recordings, researchers finally captured an image and also a video of a pheasant-pigeon.

“I figured there was less than a one-percent chance of getting a photo of the black-naped pheasant-pigeon,” said Jordan Boersma, co-leader of the expedition team that found the bird.

Boersma is part of an expedition funded by the Search for Lost Birds, a project sponsored by a number of conservation groups, including the American Bird Conservancy and BirdLife International.

The project seeks to identify around 150 lost bird species worldwide that have not yet been marked extinct.

While the team rejoiced at finally spotting the bird, they suggested that the pheasant-pigeon’s population could be very small and critically endangered.

They plan to cooperate with local communities on Fergusson Island to help the species.

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