Scientists can thank locals Muhammad Suranto and Muhammad Rizky Fauzan, who captured the bird by accident while out in the forest. They recognized it was unusual and took photos to send to a birdwatching group before releasing it. The photos circulated to ornithologists who made the identification.
The images have allowed researchers to better describe the bird and its coloration and to understand its home territory. The original specimen's origin was uncertain due to inaccurate record-keeping.
"This bird is often called 'the biggest enigma in Indonesian ornithology,'" said Gusti Akbar in a Global Wildlife Conservation statement. "It's mind-blowing to think that it's not extinct and it's still living in these lowland forests, but it's also a little scary because we don't know if the birds are safe or how much longer they may survive."
It will take a team effort to learn more about the rare bird. Said Global Wildlife Conservation's Barney Long, "Collaborations between conservationists, local communities and Indigenous peoples are crucial to learning about and saving these elusive species."
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