14 November 2022.
Black-Naped Pheasant-Pigeon was rediscovered after 140 years.
About Black-Naped Pheasant-Pigeon
- Before the recent rediscovery, Black-Naped Pheasant-Pigeon was first and last seen in 1882.
- It is a large, terrestrial pigeon having black and orange feathers and red eyes.
- It feeds on seeds and fallen fruits.
- The species is endemic to Fergusson Island in Papua New Guinea.
- It split from the species Otidiphaps nobilis, which diverged from all other species some 26.1 million years ago. Otidiphaps nobilis is part of the Columbidae family, which diverged from all other species during the Paleogene period, some 32.7 million years ago.
- The population is dwindling because of the loss of forest habitats, which is caused by the logging and conversion for subsistence agriculture gardens. Conservation activities of the species’ habitat are few and far between.
- In July 2021, though the species’ population is undetermined, was listed as a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with an estimated population of 50 to 249 birds.
How was the species rediscovered?
Black-Naped Pheasant-Pigeon was rediscovered by a research team that was part of The Search for Lost Birds – a collaboration between BirdLife International, Rewild, and American Bird Conservancy. The objective of the collaborative initiative is to rediscover bird species that have not been declared as extinct but has not been sighted for more than a decade. Currently, there are 150 such species that has remained elusive for more than 10 years.
Researchers, as part of The Search for Lost Birds, sought to find Black-Naped Pheasant-Pigeon since 2019. In September 2022, they found the species at the western slope of Mount Kilkerran – the highest peak of Fergusson Island. This is only the second time in history that the species has been spotted. Confirmation of the species’ presence gives hope for other birds that have not been spotted in decades. The detailed data provided by the research team will form the basis for the conservation of endemic bird species of Fergusson Island.