‘Extinct’ bird spotted alive for the first time in 180 years

A bird thought to be extinct for nearly two centuries have been accidentally rediscovered in the forests of Borneo by two locals. The black-browed babbler (Malacocincla perspicillata) has been first discovered in 1840 by Charles Lucien Bonaparte – nephew of the famous Napolean Bonaparte. However, that has been the first and also the last sight of the tiny bird. Well, until now!

On October last year, Muhammad Suranto and Muhammad Rizky Fauzan spotted this tiny bird they never seen before in the South Kalimantan, Indonesia. Since the little creature looked very unfamiliar for both of them, the men took some of photos of it and then released it back in the forest. Later when they showed the photos to some bird experts, they were surprised to learn they came across a species the whole world thought to be extinct.

Muhammad Suranto

“It feels surreal to know that we have found a species of bird presumed by experts to be extinct,” Fauzan said. “We didn’t expect it to be that special at all – we thought it was just another bird that we simply have never seen before.”

Bird experts compared the photos with the only specimen of the bird, collected during Napoleon’s expedition, The Guardian reports. Even though there might be some little differences, the researchers are 100% it is the Malacocincla perspicillata.

This sensational finding confirms that the black-browed babbler comes from south-eastern Borneo, ending the century-long confusion about its origins,” Panji Gusti Akbar, member of the Indonesian ornithological group Birdpacker told The Guardian. “The photographed bird showed several differences from the only known specimen, specifically the colour of the iris, bill and leg.”