More than 150 bird species are classified as "lost" around the world. Unseen for a decade or more, the existence of these mysterious birds — often known only from historical observations, drawings, or museum specimens — remains a source of lingering question and doubt.

To help answer these questions, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is partnering with Global Wildlife Conservation, eBird, and BirdLife International to identify lost bird species around the world.

ABC supports field expeditions to search for lost birds and protect them and their habitat, before they are gone forever. We are working with partners to conserve birds that were once lost including the Antioquia Brushfinch and Blue-eyed Ground-Dove, and helping to search for species, such as the Sinú Parakeet. For more on ABC's Lost Birds initiative contact John C. Mittermeier, Director of Threatened Species Outreach.


Lost Birds of the Americas

Sinú Parakeet

Sinú Parakeet: Last seen in 1949 in northwestern Colombia, the Sinú Parakeet is considered Critically Endangered. ABC and Global Wildlife Conservation are working with Colombia National Parks, Asociación Calidris, and la Sociedad Ornitológica de Córdoba to search for this species. For more information, read our blog post or contact Eliana Fierro-Calderón, International Conservation Project Officer. (Image: Hugo Alejandro Herrera)

Tachira Antpitta is highly endangered bird species
Táchira Antpitta: An international team of researchers solved one of South America's great bird mysteries by rediscovering the Táchira Antpitta, a species not seen in 60 years. With ABC's support, they found the Critically Endangered bird deep within Venezuela's cloud forest. For more information, read our press release or contact Dan Lebbin, Vice President of Threatened Species. (Image: Birdlife International)
Blue-eyed Ground-Dove
Blue-eyed Ground-Dove: After disappearing for 75 years, this beautiful, Critically Endangered ground-dove was rediscovered in Brazil in 2015. ABC is working with Brazilian partner SAVE Brasil to help protect the last remaining habitat of the Blue-eyed Ground-Dove. For more information, read our press release or contact Bennett Hennessey, Brazil Conservation Program Coordinator. (Image: Ciro Albano)

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Why Search for Lost Birds?

Antioquía Brush-Finch

Antioquia Brushfinch

It's hard to protect birds if you don't know where they live. Our expeditions provide conservationists with the critical information necessary to effectively protect endangered bird species. Finding these birds can mean the difference between saving them and losing them forever.

As shown by the stories of birds like the Antioquia Brushfinch and Blue-eyed Ground-Dove, discovery is often the first step toward permanent protection.(Photo: Yovanny Ochoa Salvamontes)


Unsolved Mysteries

Where do Sinaloa Martins spend the winter? Where do Pincoya Storm-Petrels nest? Even birds that aren't lost pose mysteries to scientists who struggle to understand the behavior and distribution of these little-known species.

If solved, these mysteries improve protection for threatened bird species. ABC is working with its partners to answer these kinds of questions. Our current projects include:

Blue-throated Macaws are only found in Bolivia

Blue-throated Macaws: American Bird Conservancy has been collaborating with Asociación Armonía and other researchers to locate unknown breeding sites for Blue-throated Macaws that use the Barba Azul Reserve in Bolivia, and a major discovery was made in 2017. For more information, contact Bennett Hennessey, Brazil Conservation Program Coordinator. (Photo: Daniel Alarcon/Armonía)

Markham's Storm Petrel survives in Chile

Markham's Storm-Petrel: In Chile, ABC is collaborating with Red de Observadores de Aves y Vida Silvestre de Chile (ROC), which discovered the breeding sites of the Markham's Storm-Petrel in 2015. ROC returned to the deserts of northern Chile in 2016 to find new nesting areas and determine threats. Researchers also discovered nests of the Ringed Storm-Petrel in the Atacama Desert of Chile. For more information, contact George Wallace, Director of International Programs and Partnerships. (Photo: Jaime-Jahncke)

Black-capped Petrels are an endangered species found in the Caribbean

Black-capped Petrel: On the Caribbean island of Dominica, ABC is working with partners to confirm and locate nests of Black-capped Petrels. Identifying the nesting locations will help us and our partners protect these endangered birds. For more information, contact Brad Keitt, Director of the Oceans and Islands Program. (Photo: Brian Patteson)


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Help ABC Find Lost Birds

Threatened birds need to be studiedABC seeks to inspire researchers and conservationists to resolve unanswered questions about birds in the Americas. We are partnering with other organizations on projects to directly search for a few lost species and identify unknown nesting areas for priority species, but we can't solve all of these questions on our own.

If you or your organization is working on resolving these mysteries, please let us know. (Photo: Dan Lebbin)

 


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News and Updates

• FOUND: Locals and Scientists Rediscover the Black-browed Babbler in Borneo After 172 Years

• After Years of Conflict, Might A Lost Parakeet Species Reveal Itself in This Colombian Forest?

• Conservationists and Communities Rally to Save Colombia's Rare, Rediscovered Brushfinch

• Following rediscovery of Táchira Antpitta in 2017, Cornell Lab of Ornithology publishes "Search to Rediscover Species."

Global Wildlife Conservation launches Lost Species Campaign.

• Desert Discovery Sheds Light On Mysterious Storm-Petrel's Life Cycle – December, 16, 2016 – ABC blog

• ABC launches lost bird searches – ABC blog

• Once lost, Blue-eyed Ground-Dove rediscovered in Brazil

Semper's Warbler search effort underway (but not found) on St. Lucia.

• Extinct in wild, Spix's Macaw spotted in Brazil. The single bird has not been re-sighted and there is debate whether this was an escaped pet or a truly wild bird.

• Recent genetic evidence shows that the lost Hooded Seedeater is not a valid species.