Bird thought extinct 74 years ago is rediscovered

09 Mar 2015. The Irrawaddy Jerdon’s Babbler Chrysomma altirostre altirostre was redisovered near Yangon by a joint team co-led by a NUS researcher.

With modern agriculture and population growth, the natural grasslands and fauna of the Irrawaddy (now also known as Ayeyarwady) plain in Myanmar have largely disappeared. The Irrawaddy Jerdon’s Babbler Chrysomma altirostre altirostre is a grassland bird that was last seen in 1941, and has since been deemed extinct. During an expedition to scout for remaining patches of natural grassland, a scientific team co-led by Prof Frank RHEINDT, together with members of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Myanmar officials, rediscovered a tiny population of the Irrawaddy Jerdon’s Babbler in a remnant patch of grassland. The remaining fragment may be as small as 80 ha. Thus the surviving population is likely endangered (see Figure).

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Picture of the Irrawaddy Jerdon’s Babbler Chrysomma altirostre altirostre at the site of rediscovery. (Image credit: Rob TIZARD/ WCS)