Rare Bird Rediscovered in Venezuela After 60 Years

Researchers have rediscovered a rare bird species in Venezuela that hadn’t been spotted for more than 60 years and was thought to be possibly extinct.

The Táchira Antpitta, which is considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, was found in the dense forest of Venezuela’s Andes Mountains. A team of scientists from the Red Siskin Initiative — a partnership between the Smithsonian and conservation institutions in Venezuela — set out on a challenging mission to try to locate the bird.

They knew they had their work cut out for them since the bird had only ever been seen in a remote part of the Andes at elevations of up to 7,000 feet. And the 7.5-inch long, brown bird isn’t easily distinguishable from similar species. The one truly distinguishable feature was its song, but since no one had ever recorded it, the researchers didn’t quite know what to listen for.

However, they used the notes from the last time the bird was discovered and returned to its last known location. Their bet paid off: the team spotted the round, brown bird on their first day in the field.

They were able to identify the Táchira Antpitta by its song — which stood out because they’d never heard it before. Their photographs and audio recordings are the first ever captured of this rare bird and should help provide details on what sets the Táchira Antpitta apart from other species, according to a statement.

Officials believe the bird could also live in other similar habitats in Colombia.

Featured image by Jhonathan Miranda