The world’s most elusive bird, the night parrot, was caught and tagged by Australian researchers in a remote area of Queensland, after not being seen since it was discovered in 1845.
The night parrot is regarded as the world’s most mysterious bird and was once believed to be extinct, but was recently captured after researchers undertook at 18-month hunt.
The researchers used camera traps and followed the bird’s calls before removing some feathers to electronically tag it, naming it Pedro.
Dr Steve Murphy, an ornithologist, told The Australian: “When we had the bird… it was terrible to be honest… there was an enormous responsibility, being the first people to touch one. But since then we have looked at each other and gone: ‘Wow, we really did it.’”
Being one of the world’s rarest species and so difficult to find, environmentalists have described the endangered night parrot as the “holy grail” of birds.
The night parrot was first discovered central Australia in 1845 but was barely seen again until a naturalist claimed to have seen it in 2013.
The editor of Birdlife Magazine, Sean Dooley, described the 2013 sighting as “the bird watching equivalent of finding Elvis flipping burgers in an outback roadhouse”.
However, the 2013 discovery was controversial, with many claiming that images had been retouched because of the secrecy surrounding the location, which was maintained to protect the area from poachers or from an influx of bird watchers.
The sighting in 2013 encouraged the researchers to hunt for the night parrot, of which there is said to be a population of 50 – 250 .