Long Feared Extinct, Rare Bird Rediscovered

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Long Feared Extinct, Rare Bird Rediscovered

Corvus unicolor, the long-lost Banggai Crow, was rediscovered on Indonesia's Peleng Island. (Credit: Photo by Philippe Verbelen)

ScienceDaily (Oct. 13, 2009) — Known to science only by two specimens described in 1900, a critically endangered crow has re-emerged on a remote, mountainous Indonesian island thanks in part to a Michigan State University scientist.


The Banggai Crow was believed by many to be extinct until Indonesian biologists finally secured two new specimens on Peleng Island in 2007. Pamela Rasmussen, an MSU assistant professor of zoology and renowned species sleuth, provided conclusive verification.

An ornithologist who specializes on the birds of southern Asia, Rasmussen studied the two century-old specimens known as Corvus unicolor in New York's American Museum of Natural History. She compared them to the new crow specimens in Indonesia's national museum, to lay to rest speculation that they were merely a subspecies of a different crow. The more common Slender-billed Crow, or Corvus enca, also is found in the Banggai Islands, and likewise is all black.


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