Long-Lost Babbler Bird Documented in Borneo for the First Time in Over 170 Years

The animal was last recorded between 1843 and 1848, when a scientist collected the first and only museum specimen

By Theresa Machemer

When Muhammad Suranto and Muhammad Rizky Fauzan trekked into the South Kalimantan rainforest in Borneo, they sometimes spotted a black and brown bird darting between the trees. They couldn’t identify it, so they captured one of the birds and sent photos of it to a local birdwatching group, BW Galeatus.

One member of the group, Joko Said Trisiyanto, matched the bird’s markings to the black-browed babbler, which was listed in his guidebook as possibly extinct. He sent the photos to ornithologist Panji Gusti Akbar, who passed the photos along to several other experts, Rachel Nuwer reports for the New York Times. After the initial shock faded, experts agreed: it was indeed a black-browed babbler, the longest-lost species in Asia that hadn’t been recorded in over 170 years. The rediscovery is detailed in the journal BirdingASIA. Continue reading