Madness: delighted US scientists find rare foreign bird in order to kill it
“There in plain sight pumping its tail, crest alert, in full colours, was the moustached kingfisher,” writes Chris Filardi in his field journal. “And then, like a ghost, it was gone.” For days and days Chris and his fellow researchers from the American Museum of Natural History’s Department of Ornithology searched for the bird in the remote moss jungle highlands of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. They laid nets to catch the precious creature.
And then they heard it. “Ko-ko-kokokokokokokokoko-kiew!” Hush. Was that the elusive moustached kingfisher or Alvin Stardust? “Ko-ko-kokokokokokokokoko-kiew!”
“When I came upon the netted bird in the cool shadowy light of the forest I gasped aloud, ‘Oh my god, the kingfisher,’” Filardi notes. “One of the most poorly known birds in the world was there, in front of me, like a creature of myth come to life.”
The team took photos and recorded the birds call. It is estimated that there are only 250–1000 mature individuals left.
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species tells us: “This spectacular species is judged to be endangered on the basis of a very small estimated population, which is suspected to be declining, at least in part of its range. However, further research may reveal it to be more common.”
And then the happy travellers killed the bird. You know, to get a better look at it.