Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Night Parrot makes Smithsonian's Top 5

The Smithsonian has included Australia's Night Parrot in its list of the top 5 most mysterious bird species. Find out who else made the cut here.

Between 1912 and 1979, birders spotted this elusive species, native to the interior of Australia, exactly zero times—leading most scientists to believe it had gone extinct.

Since then, a tiny handful of sightings of the nocturnal, yellow-green bird have occurred, and experts now estimate that the population is somewhere between 50 and 250 mature individuals.

After the last verified sighting in November 2006, when park rangers in the state of Queensland turned up a decapitated specimen that had died after flying into a barbed-wire fence, the Australian government chose to keep the find temporarily secret while they searched for more night parrots, so as to avoid an influx of birders flooding the remote park in hopes of spotting one of the world’s rarest birds.

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