Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

’Extinct’ bird rediscovered in Mexico

09.07.2004


Scientists thrilled by first confirmed sighting in almost a decade

The Cozumel Thrasher (Toxostoma guttatum), a bird not seen or recorded by scientists for close to a decade and thought by some to have gone extinct, was sighted last month by a team of field biologists, American Bird Conservancy and Conservation International announced today. Its rediscovery immediately makes it the single most threatened bird in Mexico.

The Cozumel Thrasher, an endemic bird found only on the island of Cozumel off the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, appears to have experienced a precipitous decline in 1988 after Hurricane Gilbert tore through the island. It immediately became rare, but small numbers of the bird were known to exist until it was last sighted in 1995. That same year, Hurricane Roxanne ripped through Cozumel and may have also contributed to the species’ decline. Scientists estimate that as many as 10,000 once thrived on the island.



Previous recent expeditions to find the Cozumel Thrasher proved futile. Last month, a team of field biologists working in conjunction with Villanova University and the Mexican counterpart of the Island Endemics Institute, spotted a single individual, confirming that the species was not yet extinct. The field biologists were on a rediscovery mission sponsored by American Bird Conservancy and Conservation International.

"This is terrific news for the species," said Dr. George Wallace, vice president for International Programs at American Bird Conservancy. "It opens a door to a range of possibilities that we hope will lead to the establishment of a protected area if more birds are found."

The Cozumel Thrasher is a medium-sized (23 cm. long) bird, similar to a mockingbird. It is brown and white with a long, curved bill. Its upper parts are a rich chestnut-brown with two white wing-bars. It has a gray face, black bill and legs, and white underparts heavily streaked black. Its song is described as a complex scratchy warbling.

"The rediscovery of the Cozumel Thrasher is a reminder of two key things: the importance of tropical islands for biodiversity conservation, and the importance of never giving up on a species - no matter how rare," said Dr. Russell Mittermeier, president of Conservation International.

Although the hurricanes are believed to have had a major negative impact on the birds, scientists believe that other factors must have contributed to the decline, because the Cozumel Thrasher likely survived hurricanes for millennia. Introduced species, especially predatory boa constrictors introduced to the island in 1971 and now abundant, may also have had a disastrous effect.

Fortunately, large tracts of deciduous and semi-deciduous forest, thought to be the species’ preferred habitat, still remain, and the birds are not hunted or trapped for the pet trade. Formal protection and management of Cozumel’s habitat could benefit other species on the island, including two other endemic bird species, fifteen endemic bird subspecies, and at least three endemic and threatened mammal species.

The team will next try to determine the size and range of the population represented by this single bird, and then return next January, when the birds are known to sing more frequently, to attempt further surveys. To protect this and potentially other birds from disturbance, the exact location of the discovery is not being disclosed to the public.

Brad Phillips | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.conservation.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Monitoring biodiversity with sound: how machines can enrich our knowledge
18.06.2019 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

nachricht Uncovering hidden protein structures
18.06.2019 | Universität Konstanz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The hidden structure of the periodic system

The well-known representation of chemical elements is just one example of how objects can be arranged and classified

The periodic table of elements that most chemistry books depict is only one special case. This tabular overview of the chemical elements, which goes back to...

Im Focus: MPSD team discovers light-induced ferroelectricity in strontium titanate

Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.

Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...

Im Focus: Determining the Earth’s gravity field more accurately than ever before

Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.

The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...

Im Focus: Tube anemone has the largest animal mitochondrial genome ever sequenced

Discovery by Brazilian and US researchers could change the classification of two species, which appear more akin to jellyfish than was thought.

The tube anemone Isarachnanthus nocturnus is only 15 cm long but has the largest mitochondrial genome of any animal sequenced to date, with 80,923 base pairs....

Im Focus: Tiny light box opens new doors into the nanoworld

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have discovered a completely new way of capturing, amplifying and linking light to matter at the nanolevel. Using a tiny box, built from stacked atomically thin material, they have succeeded in creating a type of feedback loop in which light and matter become one. The discovery, which was recently published in Nature Nanotechnology, opens up new possibilities in the world of nanophotonics.

Photonics is concerned with various means of using light. Fibre-optic communication is an example of photonics, as is the technology behind photodetectors and...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Uncovering hidden protein structures

18.06.2019 | Life Sciences

Monitoring biodiversity with sound: how machines can enrich our knowledge

18.06.2019 | Life Sciences

Schizophrenia: Adolescence is the game-changer

18.06.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>