28 DEC 2018
After months of fruitless searching, one of the most endangered birds on the planet has finally been spotted once more.
It's not particularly flashy, nor large. Stresemann's Bristlefront is a medium-sized, long-tailed bird with distinctive bristles on its forehead - but scientists think there are only a handful of these creatures left in the world.
Two sightings of a female on December 12 and 14 have now given conservationists hope that it's not too late to save the bird from total extinction, as its rapidly dwindling rainforest habitat is threatening to push the population right down to zero.
Found only in a small region of eastern Brazil, Stresemann's Bristlefronts (Merulaxis stresemanni) were first noted in the 1830s. But it seems they were always an elusive sort.
After that initial spotting, it wasn't until the mid-20th century that another specimen was collected. The species got its name thanks to German-Brazilian ornithologist Helmut Sick, who noted both the bird's distinctive bristles and the name of his tutor Erwin Stresemann.
A name wasn't enough to keep the bird in our sights, though. It disappeared for another 50 years before another encounter in 1995 – which gives you some idea of just how rare it is to chance a look at this creature.