Since 1848, the bird known as the ‘black-browed babbler’ has been missing. However after more than 170 years, two locals, Muhammad Suranto and Muhammad Rizky Fauzan have helped to rediscover the long lost species after accidentally capturing it during their forest expedition in Borneo, Indonesia.
At first, the two men were puzzled by their discovery, leading them to snap some photos of the bird before releasing it unharmed back into the wild. They sent the photos to the local birdwatching group in hopes that they would be able to identify it. The group suspected it may be the black-browed babbler and immediately contacted ornithologists. (Ornithology is a branch of zoology that concerns the "methodological study and consequent knowledge of birds with all that relates to them").
After comparing photos the scientists confirmed that it was infact the black-browed babbler. There were notable differences in the iris, bill and leg of the bird which helped to make their identification.
“I think it is amazing that we managed to document one of the most remarkable zoological discoveries in Indonesia, largely through online communication, in the midst of the pandemic, which has hampered us from visiting the site,” said Teguh Willy Nugroho, who works in Sebangau National Park.
The rediscovery has given scientists hope that these findings may rekindle interest in surveying birds in under-researched areas, as well as answering vital questions such as where the species is located.