ByMICHAEL CASEYCBS NEWSMarch 20, 2015, 5:44 PM
Conservationists Carlos Julio Rojas and Christian Vasquez had gone into a Columbian mountain range looking to document fires burning in the fragile ecosystem.
|Image credit: Carlos Julio Rojas / ProAves|
They ended up rediscovering a hummingbird that had not been seen since 1946 and was believed to have gone extinct.
The duo earlier this month managed to snap the only known photographs of the blue-bearded helmetcrest.
As he hiked through the region's Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park, Rojas said he "saw the flash of a bird screeching past me and saw it perch on a bush nearby."
"I managed to take a quick photo of it before it flew off. I then reviewed the photo on the camera screen and immediately recognized the strikingly patterned hummingbird as the long-lost blue-bearded helmetcrest," said Rojas, whose discovery was first reported in the journal ProAves. "I was ecstatic. After reports of searches by ornithologists failing to find this spectacular species, Christian and I were the first people alive to see it for real."