Monday, February 26, 2007

Rare Cuckoo Recorded

A large bird from Sumatra, rediscovered only in the last decade, has finally been recorded on audio tape, which should help ornithologists survey the rare species. From Eurekalert:

"A team of biologists with the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have recorded for the first time the call of the extremely rare Sumatran ground cuckoo, found only on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia.
"The bird was captured by a trapper and handed over to WCS biologists, who recorded the birdís call while it nursed an injured foot. Once fully recovered, the bird will be released back into the wild.
"Known only by a handful of specimens collected over the past century, the Sumatran ground cuckoo is considered to be one of the worldís rarest, most secretive birds, and is restricted to Sumatraís deep jungles and rainforests. In fact, ornithologists believed the bird was extinct until 1997, when a single individual was briefly seen. Last year a second bird was photographed by a remote camera trap. It is now believed to be critically endangered. Until now, however, no one knew the birdís call Ė a key field diagnostic ornithologists use to identify birds that live in forest. According to WCS, having a recording of the birdís call will also make it easier for biologists to locate other individuals, and to possibly evaluate the birdís total population.
"'We were extremely lucky to have recorded the birdís unique call,' said Firdaus Rahman, of WCSís Indonesia Program. 'Our team will use the recording to hopefully locate other Sumatran ground cuckoos, and to eventually secure their protection.'
"The recoded call can best be described as a pair of sharp screams. It is unknown at this point whether the bird has additional vocalizations.
"Sumatran ground cuckoos are relatively large birds (half a meter long) with long tails. It has green plumage with a black crown and green bill, and striking blue facial markings."

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