First known photos of 'lost bird' captured by UTEP scientists

A recent expedition led by scientists from the University of Texas at El Paso captured the first photograph of the Yellow-crested Helmet Shrike, or Prinopus alberti. Credit: Matt Brady, University of Texas at El Paso

Scientists have photographed for the first time a bird long thought to be lost. Known as the Yellow-crested Helmet Shrike or Prinopus alberti, this species is listed as ‘The lost bird‘ from the American Bird Conservancy because he hadn’t seen one in nearly two decades.

Scientists from the University of Texas at El Paso made the discovery during a six-week expedition to the Atamboe Massif. In the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Cameron Rutt, Ph.D., who leads the Missing Birds Project at the American Bird Conservancy, reviewed and confirmed the photos of the helmeted shrike.

“Meeting these birds was a mind-blowing experience. We knew they could be here, but I wasn’t prepared for how amazing and unique they looked in life,” said biologist Michael Harvey. will give,” said ornithologist Michael Harvey, Ph.D. and UTEP Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.

Harvey co-led the campaign with Eli Greenbaum, Ph.D., UTEP professor of biological sciences. They were joined by ornithologist Matt Brady, as well as a group of Congolese researchers from the Center de Recherche en Sciences Naturales, including Chifandra Kasamba, PhD, Robert Kuzungu Bayamana, Chance Bahati Mohigirua, Munibato M. Aristotle, and Wendige. M is included. Mananga

The team hiked more than 75 miles deep into the Itombwe Massif, studying birds, amphibians and reptiles along the way.

While exploring a cloud forest on a mountainside, Harvey and Brady stumble upon a helmet shrike—a black bird with a bright yellow “helmet.” The team said they appeared as a “noisy and active group in the middle of the forest”.

According to Harvey, the bird is endemic to the western slopes of the Albertine Rift in central Africa, a region that has been largely inaccessible due to war and security issues but has recently become safer to visit. Is.

In total, about 18 birds were found at three locations during the campaign.

“This gives hope that there may still be reasonably healthy populations of the species in the remote forests of the region,” Harvey said. “But mining and logging, as well as clearing forests for agriculture, are encroaching deep into the forests of the Etombwe Range. We are working with other researchers and conservationists to further efforts to protect the forests and helmet shrike in the region. are talking to the organizations of

“Now is the golden opportunity to protect them,” Harvey added. So that we don’t lose species like the Helmet Shrike before they are recognized and studied.”

The expedition, which will run from December 2023 to January 2024, made other important discoveries. The herpetology team rediscovered the red-bellied squeaker frog, or Arthroleptus haematogaster, which had not been seen since the 1950s. The rediscovery of the frog was confirmed by Professor David Blackburn of the University of Florida’s Museum of Natural History.

“UTEP’s global impact is demonstrated not only through the achievements of its graduates, but also through important and fascinating discoveries, exemplified here by Drs. Greenbaum and Harvey’s contributions. is,” said UTEP College of Science Dean Robert Kirkin, Ph.D. “I hope this discovery will enlighten and inspire students and scientists around the world.”

Reference: First known photos of ‘lost bird’ captured by scientists (2024, February 20) Retrieved 21 February 2024 from https://phys.org/news/2024-02-photos-lost-bird-captured-scientists.html were obtained.

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