Trail cameras can tell us a lot about animal behavior and habits. They sometimes capture charming and utterly hilarious sights, and recently, there was quite a remarkable one. A trail camera in Papua New Guinea filmed an extremely rare and critically endangered black-naped pheasant-pigeon. The bird isn’t only super-rare, but this is the first time it has been spotted since its discovery – which was in 1882!
The team behind Search for Lost Birds had been on a mission to find the bird for a month before it was finally caught on camera. They set up 12 trail cams in Mt. Kilkerran, the highest mountain on Fergusson Island in Papua New Guinea.
As they started reaching the western slope of the mountain, the expedition team started meeting hunters who claimed to have seen and heard the rare bird in the past. So, they set up eight more cameras in the places where hunters navigated them. In the end, it was one of those that filmed the elusive bird.
“When we finally found the black-naped pheasant-pigeon, it was during the final hours of the expedition,” said Doka Nason of the expedition team. Nason was the one who set up the camera trap that filmed the bird; seeing the footage and photos, he says he was “incredibly excited.” And who wouldn’t be – it was a pleasant surprise almost at the end of the mission… And it was the first record of the bird after 140 years. I’d say that the team has a lot to celebrate!
According to the team, the bird is most likely extremely rare and BirdLife International lists it as “critically endangered.” Its estimated population is between 50 and 249 specimens, and it’s considered native only to Fergusson Island. The forest where it was spotted is very difficult to access, which is why it could be “the last stronghold for the black-naped pheasant-pigeon on Fergusson.”
[via CBS News]