The rare bird was last seen in Myanmar in 1941, in the small town of Myitkyo, situated near the river Sittaung.
However, in May 2014, a team of researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Nature and Wildlife Conservation Division and National University of Singapore, came across the little bird while studying a site near an abandoned agriculture station.
The researchers detailed their findings in the new issue of Birding Asia, a magazine specialized in bird species.
Colin Poole, one of the researchers involved the study, explained that the degradation of the grasslands of Myanmar was responsible for the disappearance of this species of bird. Many believed Jerdon’s babbler to be extinct because of that.
The recent discovery proves that the bird and its habitat still exist.
The researchers first heard the bird’s call and recorded it. After playing back the recording, another adult bird appeared.
Over the next 48 hours, the experts saw several more Jerdon’s babblers and managed to photograph them and take blood samples.
The extinct bird was first discovered in 1862 by T.C. Jerdon, a British naturalist. He described the bird as being the size of a house sparrow.
The bird was very common at the beginning of the twentieth century, living mostly in the grassland of Sittaung and Ayeyarwady, near the capital of Myanmar, Yangon.
But since then, the number of Jerdon’s babbles declined due to agriculture and human settlements who took over the grasslands.
The researchers collected DNA samples of the bird to understand the diversity of the species.
The results of the analysis reveal that the once-thought extinct bird is in good health.
The experts will further analyze the bird’s DNA to determine whether it can be considered a species of its own, or a subspecies.
If the tests prove that the Jerdon’s babbler is a full species, then the bird will be exclusive to Myanmar.
The researchers said that future work is required to conserve the bird’s habitat so that it won’t face extinction again.
Image Source: orientalbirdclub