Ornithologists have recently made an incredible discovery regarding a bird species in Africa. Previously, this species was regarded as elusive and extremely rare, but further research revealed it never actually existed. The discovery came after 30 years in which researchers have been trying to spot the bird without success.
Researchers thought the greenbul species was extremely rare
There is a family of birds colored in bright shades which live all over Asia and Africa. These songbirds, which measure a medium size, are usually called greenbuls and bulbuls, and make up about 130 species. However, one particular species, was extremely hard to spot.
One of these species, the icterine greenbul, was quite common in western Africa. However, during the 1980s, a German scientist called Wulf Gatter stumbled upon a bird which closely resembled an icterine greenbul, but had some particularities which haven’t been found before, such as different colors and some peculiar spots on the wings.
In 1984, after seeing the bird nine times, he got the chance to catch one specimen and study it. He found the specimen unique, and called it the Liberian greenbul, named after the country where it was found. Then, this bird disappeared from the face of Earth, and nobody saw it again.
The DNA analysis revealed it never actually existed
Another team of ornithologists started a new research mission, and went to search for the bird. Since they found nothing, they resorted to DNA analysis of the captured specimen. They compared its samples with genetic data from two other greenbul species, and discovered the mysterious bird was extremely similar to the icterine greenbul.
They cannot confirm that the two birds are one and the same species, but other explanations are highly implausible. Therefore, the bird which appeared to be a Liberian greenbul might have suffered some deficiencies which affected the appearance of its feathers. However, researchers will continue their search either for a bigger population of this mysterious birds, or for some clear evidence that they don’t exist.