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Conservationists elated to spot elusive songbird after 24 years

Madagascar's dusky tetraka songbird was once feared to be gone, until conservationists spotted the bird 24 years later.
Person holding a newly-rediscovered Dusky Tetraka.
Posted at 9:17 PM, Mar 01, 2023

It had been 24 long years since a yellow-throated songbird native to the biodiverse African island nation of Madagascar had been seen. But, that has changed to the elation of conservationists who traveled deep into remote areas of the country to find it. 

The last documented sighting of the small bird was in 1999, researchers said

An expert with the American Bird Conservancy documented the new finding after a team of international bird watchers made a 40 hours drive to then hike for half a day to a spot where the bird was last found. 

The dusky tetraka tends to spend time along rivers, according to new documented observations. As bird watchers look for species, they usually listen for their calls. The loud noise of rushing rivers could have masked those calls, allowing the species of songbird to evade human sight for nearly two and a half decades. 

A bird perches on a branch.

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TheAmerican Bird Conservancy and BirdLife International placed the species on its top ten list for "Most Wanted Lost Birds."

The bird is described as small, with olive and yellow colored feathers. It can be found hopping around on the ground and living along rivers. 

Lily-Arison Rene de Roland, the Madagascar Program director for The Peregrine Fund,said, “Now that we’ve found Dusky Tetraka and better understand the habitat it lives in, we can look for it in other parts of Madagascar, and learn important information about its ecology and biology."

She said, “There is a lot of biodiversity still to discover in Madagascar.”