Rare bird returns to ocean

A group of scientists in Fiji has captured images of an endangered and elusive ocean bird, soaring above the sea about 40 kilometers south of Fiji's remote island of Gua in May. The Fiji Petrel (Pseudobulweria macgillivrayi), One of the world's rarest and most elusive birds has finally been seen flying in its natural habitat.

The researchers' findings were described in a paper published in this week's Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club.

The 30cm tall dark-brown bird was once lost for 130 years. "Finding this bird and capturing such images was a fantastic and exhilarating experience," the paper's lead author, Hadoram Shirihai, said in a statement.

The bird is one of 192 bird species listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the producer of the world's Red List of endangered animals.

The first Fiji petrel was known from just a single immature specimen in 1855 on Gua, and then it went missing for 130 years, until 1984 it was caught and photographed on Gua, then released.. Since then, there have been a handful of reports of birds crashing into houses on Gua, most were immature birds of which a few died, but no one had ever positively identified one at sea, the researchers said.

Via - BBC News , 11 Sept 2009

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