Wildlife researchers claim they have discovered one of the world’s rarest birds in South Australia for the first time in more than half a century.
The night parrot was initially believed to be extinct in Australia until 2013, when one of the rare birds was photographed in Queensland by ecologist John Young.
Now, Mr Young has discovered a father in a nest located near South Australia’s Lake Eyre, the first physical evidence of its existence in more than half a century.
Mr Young and fellow ecologist Keith Bellchambers discovered the feather in July, before independent testing from the Western Australian Museum confirmed that it belonged to the incredibly elusive bird.
The Australian Wildlife Conservancy ecologists first investigated the bird’s potential presence after they spotted a ‘cryptic’ shape that was captured in a grainy night vision photo at Kalamurina Wildlife Sanctuary.
They then took to the air to scour the 9,500 sq km basin before settling on one region where a sighting had been previously made in 1883.
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After examining several nests, Mr Young discovered an ‘unmistakeable’ green feather.
‘People show excitement in many different ways, mine was to shake uncontrollably with numbing excitement and Keith’s was sheer disbelief with his hands holding his head,’ he said.
‘An incredibly emotional time for both of us.’
Now, the ecologists are planning to attempt to track the size of the population.