A pale-bellied bird species last seen in the 1920s and long thought to be extinct has been rediscovered near Papua New Guinea. The Beck's petrel was...
LONDON — A pale-bellied bird species last seen in the 1920s and long thought to be extinct has been rediscovered near Papua New Guinea.
The Beck’s petrel was photographed last summer by an Israeli ornithologist in the Bismarck Archipelago, a group of islands northeast of Papua New Guinea.
Hadoram Shirihai, who led an expedition to find the seabird, returned with photographs of more than 30 of the birds and a freshly dead specimen found at sea — evidence that has so far convinced several experts.
Shirihai’s photographs and his report were published in “The Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club” on Friday.
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Britain’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and BirdLife International — a Cambridge conservation group — both said their committees of experts had reviewed Shirihai’s evidence and agreed he had found Beck’s petrel.
“I don’t think there’s much doubt about it,” said BirdLife International spokesman Nick Askew.
The pictures are the first hard evidence of the Beck’s petrel’s existence since unconfirmed sightings of the bird were reported in Australia two years ago.
Beck’s petrels are seabirds related to albatrosses and shearwaters. They are dark brown with pale bellies and tubelike noses.