BirdLife International is launching a global bid to try to confirm the continued existence of 47 species of bird that have not been seen for up to 184 years.
The list of potentially lost birds is a tantalising mix of species ranging from some inhabiting the least visited places on earth – such as remote islands and the western Himalayas – to those occurring in parts of Europe and the United States.
“The mention of species such as Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Jamaican Petrel, Hooded Seedeater, Himalayan Quail, and Pink-headed Duck will set scientists’ pulses racing. Some of these species haven’t been seen by any living person, but birdwatchers around the world still dream of rediscovering these long lost ghosts”, said Marco Lambertini, BirdLife International’s chief executive.
“History has shown us that we shouldn’t give up on species that are feared to have gone to their graves because some, such as Cebu Flowerpecker, have been rediscovered long after they were feared extinct, providing hope for the continued survival of other ‘long-lost’ species. Cebu Flowerpecker, of the Philippines, was only rediscovered at the eleventh hour just before the last remnants of its forest home were destroyed.”
“The extinction crisis is gathering momentum, but that’s no excuse for humanity to allow even more strands from the web of life to disappear, especially without giving them a final chance of life.”
The announcement of the quest to find lost species is being made at the launch of the 21st British Birdwatching Fair at Rutland Water. The event, which continues over the weekend, is expected to attract in excess of 20,000 birdwatchers from across the UK. Funds raised from this year’s event will go to the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme to help fund these searches.