"Extinct" bird found in Thailand

From: http://jurnalo.com/jurnalo/storyPage.do?story_id=21768

Mar 7, 2007

A wetland bird that was last spotted in India in 1867 and presumed to be extinct has been rediscovered in Thailand, media reports said on Wednesday.

A team of ornithologists trapped a large-billed reed warbler (Acroce phalus orinus) on March 27, last year, in a pristine coastal wetland in Petchaburi province but only announced their "rediscovery" of the lost species on Tuesday in Bangkok.

Birdlife International announced the discovery Wednesday on its website.

Philip Round, a lecturer form Thailand's Mahidol University, said it took a year to confirm that the bird was indeed a large-billed reed warbler, the last specimen of which was collected 140 years ago in north-west India and stored at the Natural History Museum in London.

DNA?tests confirmed that the specimen found in Thailand matched that of the specimen kept at the London museum, Round said.

The rediscovery has revived regional interest in the large-billed reed warbler, which has long been a mystery bird for ornithologists.

This remarkable discovery gives Indian ornithologists an added incentive to continue our search for the large-billed reed warbler in India," said Dr Asad Rahmani, Director of the Bombay Natural History Society in a statement on the website of Birdlife International.

BirdLife International's Stuart Butchart, added, "Almost nothing is known about this mysterious bird. The Indian specimen has short, round wings and we speculated it is resident or short-distance migrant, so its appearance in Thailand is very surprising. A priority now is to find out where the large-billed reed warbler's main population lives, whether it is threatened, and if so, how these threats can be addressed. " dpa pj pw