Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Long feared extinct, rare crow rediscovered in Indonesia

Known to science only by two specimens described in 1900, a critically endangered crow has re-emerged on a remote, mountainous Indonesian island.

The Banggai Crow (Corvus unicolor) was thought to be extinct until Indonesian biologists finally secured two new specimens on Peleng Island in 2007.

An ornithologist who specializes on the birds of southern Asia, Pamela Rasmussen studied the two century-old specimens known as Corvus unicolor in New York's American Museum of Natural History. She compared them to the new crow specimens in Indonesia's national museum, to lay to rest speculation that they were merely a subspecies of a different crow.

The rediscovery was spearheaded by professor Mochamad Indrawan of the University of Indonesia, chairperson of the Indonesian Ornithologists' Union, who conducted ecological field studies. He was assisted by collaborator Yunus Masala and by the Celebes Bird Club, members of which secured the new specimens that are now catalogued at the Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense in Java.

A photo of the Banggai Crow debuts this week in volume 14 of the influential Handbook of the Birds of the World. In the meantime, Rasmussen, Indrawan and colleagues have submitted the detailed paper confirming the species' rediscovery for publication.

Read the story here
Photo by Philippe Verbelen (extracted from

1 comment:

Gallicissa said...

Now, that's something to crow about.