This male Recurve-billed Bushbird, Clytoctantes alixii, was recently photographed by ProAves staff, Adriana Tovar and Luis Eduardo Uruena. This is the first time this globally endangered species has been captured on film. [larger].
For the first time ever, an elusive recurve-billed bushbird, Clytoctantes alixii, has been photographed in the wild. The bird, recently rediscovered by
scientists in Colombia a Colombian ornithologist named Oscar Laverde after a 40-year absence, has a heavy, upward-curving beak that gives it the illusion of an enigmatic smile.
Because of this rare bird’s limited range and remote habitats, it was not seen at all between 1965 and 2004. However, the bird was recently rediscovered on a 250-acre (101-hectare) reserve next to the Torcoroma Holy Sanctuary near the Colombian town of Ocaña. The Catholic Church has protected this area since 1709, when the locals claimed they saw the image of the Virgin Mary in a tree root.
Additionally, this species was also seen recently in Venezuela and in a region of northeastern Colombia, where it was also photographed.
The Torcoroma Holy Sanctuary is a very unique area because it is a relic dry pre-montane cloud forest that is predominantly covered with bamboo forest.
Recurve-billed bushbirds are stocky passerines with a short tail and recurved bill. Males are a grey-blue color with a black breast and throat while females are rufous-brown in color. This species is sedentary, living in dense undergrowth, thickets, and forest edges in foothills forests, from 185 to 1,750 meters of elevation. It is terrestrial and forages on the ground for insects. Populations of this species are very small, and are threatened by rapid fragmentation of their habitat, which is being destroyed to develop agricultural and grazing areas.
“[A]s more and more remote areas are being settled, the bushbird reminds us how important it is to conserve as much natural habitat as we can,” said Paul Salaman of the American Bird Conservancy.
“Who knows what wonderful biodiversity is being destroyed before it has had a chance to be discovered?”
Male Recurve-billed Bushbird, Clytoctantes alixii [larger]
Wildlife Extra (quotes)
National Geographic (quotes)