Evidence of one of world’s rarest birds found in Australia

The freshness of the zebra finch nest where the night parrot feather was found indicates it may have been collected 'within a few hundred metres in the past few weeks', said expert John Young. (AFP)
Updated 14 September 2017
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Evidence of one of world’s rarest birds found in Australia

SYDNEY:A feather from one of the most elusive birds in the world has been found in South Australia, the first proof in more than a century that it lives there, wildlife experts said Thursday.
The “night parrot” ranks among the world’s rarest avian species and was thought extinct until an intrepid Australian naturalist provided photo evidence of one in Queensland state in 2013.
It has since also been spotted in Western Australia.
The expert behind the Queensland sighting, John Young, and fellow ecologist Keith Bellchambers from the Australian Wildlife Conservancy have now shown it is also in South Australia.
The pair found a feather from the small, yellowish-green bird in the nest of a zebra finch around remote Lake Eyre while following up on blurry images from a camera trap in the area.
“Keith and I looked at many zebra finches’ nests before finally an unmistakable small green feather appeared within the fresh base lining of one of the nests,” said Young.
“People show excitement in many different ways, mine was to shake uncontrollably with numbing excitement and Keith’s was sheer disbelief with his hands holding his head. An incredibly emotional time for both of us.
“In my eyes there was no doubt that this was the feather of a night parrot.”
The freshness of the zebra finch nest indicates the feather may have been collected “within a few hundred meters in the past few weeks,” Young added.
The curator of ornithology at the Western Australian Museum confirmed their find.
The next step is to map the distribution of the species, which was last recorded at Lake Eyre in 1883, and assess the population size using song meters and camera traps, said Young.
Researchers feared for decades that the nocturnal, desert-dwelling parrot was extinct, with no sightings between 1912 and 1979 and only a handful since, before the conclusive evidence in 2013.
In 2012, the Smithsonian Magazine rated it at number one among the world’s five most mysterious birds.
Endemic to Australia, it is listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which estimates there are about 50-250 in the wild and declining.


The Six: Female rappers from the Middle East who are changing the game

Updated 27 sec ago
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The Six: Female rappers from the Middle East who are changing the game

DUBAI: These women are changing the face of rap in the Middle East with their bold lyrics and powerful prose.

Soultana

This Moroccan female rapper champions women’s rights and uses bold lyrics to tackle social issues. True to her feisty form, Soultana’s hit “Sawt Nissa” addresses sexual harassment in her home country.

Shadia Mansour

The British-Palestinian rapper uses hip-hop to highlight the Palestinian struggle. Mansour sees music as a medium for expressing dissent.

Mayam Mahmoud

The Egyptian rapper, who has been featured on CNN and the BBC for her efforts to advance women’s rights and combat sexual harassment, is making a name for herself on the rap scene.

Meryem Saci

The music of the Montreal-based songwriter of Algerian origin ranges from soulful R&B and jazz to reggae and hip-hop. Saci’s mixtape, “On My Way,” is a testament to her eclectic sound.

Malikah

The self-proclaimed “Queen of Arabic hip-hop” has established herself as one of the most important musicians in Lebanon and beyond with hard-hitting lyrics. She even opened the show for Snoop Dog in Abu Dhabi in 2011.