Rare hummingbird last seen in 2010 rediscovered in Colombia | Surroundings

A rare hummingbird has been rediscovered by a birdwatcher in Colombia after being missing for more than a decade.

The Santa Marta sabrewing, a large hummingbird found only in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, was last seen in 2010, and scientists feared the species might become extinct as the tropical forests it inhabited have been largely cleared for Agriculture.

But ornithologists celebrate the rediscovery of Campylopterus phainopeplus after an experienced local birdwatcher caught one on camera. It’s only the third time the species has been documented: the first was in 1946 and the second in 2010, when researchers took the first pictures of the species in the wild.

Yurgen Vega, who spotted the hummingbird while working with conservation groups Selva, ProCAT Colombia and World Parrot Trust to study endemic birds in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, said he felt “overwhelmed with emotion” when he saw the bird.

“The sighting was a complete surprise,” he said. “When I first saw the hummingbird, I immediately thought of the Santa Marta saber. I couldn’t believe it was standing there waiting for me to pull out my camera and start shooting. I was almost convinced it was the species, but feeling so emotionally overcome, I preferred to be careful; it could be Lazuline sabers, which is often confused with Santa Marta sabers. But when we saw the pictures, we knew it was true.”

The Santa Marta sabrewing is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species and is in the top 10 “most wanted” list in conservation organization Re:wild’s Search for Lost Birds, a global effort to find species which have not been seen for more than 10 years. The bird is so rare and elusive that John C Mittermeier, the director of endangered species outreach at American Bird Conservancy, likened the sighting to “seeing a ghost.”

The Vega-saw hummingbird was a male, recognizable by its emerald green feathers, bright blue throat, and curved black bill. Perched on a branch, vocalizing and singing, behavioral scientists think is associated with courtship and defending territory.

The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in northern Colombia is home to a wealth of wildlife, including 24 bird species found nowhere else. But scientists estimate that only 15% of the forest in the mountains is intact. It is hoped that the surprising sighting of the Santa Marta sabrewing will help protect their remaining habitat, benefiting many different species found there.

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“This finding confirms that we still know very little about many of the most vulnerable and rare species out there, and it is imperative to invest more to understand them better,” said Esteban Botero-Delgadillo, conservation director at Selva. : Research for conservation in the neotropics. “It is knowledge that drives action and change – it’s not possible to keep what we don’t understand.

“The next step is to go out and look for stable populations of this species, in an effort to better understand where it occurs and what the most critical threats are in situ. Of course, this needs to involve people from local communities and local and regional environmental authorities so that together we can launch a research and conservation program that can have real impact.”

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