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The Bird Is Back: A Pigeon Thought Extinct Has Been Spotted in Papua New Guinea

The black-naped pheasant-pigeon was recently captured on camera—the first sighting of the bird since 1882.

black-naped pheasant-pigeon
Written by
Calin Van Paris
Published
In our modern era of visibility, going entirely off the radar is no easy feat. But, somehow, the black-naped pheasant-pigeon managed to escape prying eyes for over 140 years—until this past September, that is.
A
press release
from the nonprofit Re:wild announced visual proof of the pigeon, which was recently caught on film by a team of scientists and researchers in Papua New Guinea. The bird had not been seen since 1882, leading scientists to believe that it was extinct.
Upon arrival at Mt. Kilkerran on Fergusson Island—the only known home of the pigeon—the research team heard rumors of sightings from villagers and hunters. Intel from a local hunter helped decide camera placement—and led to the resulting find.
black-naped pheasant-pigeon
“When we collected the camera traps, I figured there was less than a one percent chance of getting a photo of the black-naped pheasant-pigeon,” said Jordan Boersma, postdoctoral researcher at Cornell Lab of Ornithology and co-leader of the expedition team in the aforementioned release. “Then as I was scrolling through the photos, I was stunned by this photo of this bird walking right past our camera.”
The bird is back! Considering the
less-than-favorable wildlife news
of late, this winged win feels big.
Images: Re:wild, Doka Nason/American Bird Conservancy