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Old Thursday 1st December 2005, 17:46   #1
mattpau
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Cone-billed tanager rediscovered

Apparently the cone-billed tanager (Conothraupis mesoleuca) of Brazil has been rediscovered. This bird had been seen exactly once before now: a male was collected in 1938. Since then, nothing--until the rediscovery. This is the tanager that Scott Weidensaul searched for and wrote about in his book "The Ghost with Trembling Wings", an excellent read, in my opinion. It's about the search for various lost species (and some that no doubt never existed!). The chapter about the tanager is available in an Outside online article:

http://outside.away.com/outside/adve..._phantom_1.adp

I have very few details about the rediscovery. A small photo appears here:

http://www.ao.com.br/ao127.htm

Apparently a full article about the rediscovery is in the works.

Paul
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Old Thursday 1st December 2005, 18:00   #2
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Matt,
Both Rasmus and I remember visiting the page last month some time. At the time, there was nothing about the Conothraupis. Rasmus rediscovered the page a few days ago with the inclusion of this news. Big news! Too bad about the supersmall photo but after a write-up maybe there will be better hopefully.
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Old Thursday 1st December 2005, 18:08   #3
Rasmus Boegh
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Actually, I heard the rumour some time ago and had been looking more or less actively for additional info, as I still had some doubts over the reliability (so I didn't bother to ask some of my contacts, which I quite certainly would have, had I really believed in the very vague rumours when they started some time ago). Anyway, got the full story "from the source" two days ago and it certainly is great news. And yes, a larger article is on the way.

Last edited by Rasmus Boegh : Thursday 1st December 2005 at 18:14.
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Old Thursday 1st December 2005, 19:28   #4
mattpau
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasmus Boegh
Actually, I heard the rumour some time ago and had been looking more or less actively for additional info, as I still had some doubts over the reliability (so I didn't bother to ask some of my contacts, which I quite certainly would have, had I really believed in the very vague rumours when they started some time ago). Anyway, got the full story "from the source" two days ago and it certainly is great news. And yes, a larger article is on the way.
Rasmus, are you at liberty to reveal any more of the "full story"?
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Old Thursday 1st December 2005, 19:53   #5
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brilliant news indeed
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Old Thursday 1st December 2005, 20:50   #6
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In short: The whole deal started in August - 2003 when Bráulio A. Carlos (a leading Brazilian ornithologist; www.pantanalbirdclub.org) observed a bird in Parque Nacional das Emas (in southern Goiás) that seemingly fitted the description of a male Cone-billed. However, this initial observation was too brief to lead to a conclusive ID. In October roughly a year later Dante Buzzetti (another excellent Brazilian ornithologist; www.dantebuzzetti.com.br/) heard a voice he didn't know (near the locality of the earlier probable observation) and following playback a bird that somwhat resembled an intermediate between a female White-lined Tanager and a female Ultramarine Grosbeak appeared. A few days later yet another song was heard and upon playback a bird that seemingly resembled a male Cone-billed appeared. The bill caused problems as the type specimen of the Cone-billed has a dark bill, while the individual seen had a pale greyish-blue bill (as can be seen on the photo on Atualidades Ornitológieas page; link in post #1). However, checking the original notes by Belioz (who described the species almost 70 yeas ago) it seems the bill of the type specimen originally had been bluish-grey, too (colour changes in various parts of specimens are common). Anyway, further observation in das Emas followed... the rest will have to wait till the larger article is published which will include comments on the female, voice, habitat, etc.

Last edited by Rasmus Boegh : Thursday 1st December 2005 at 22:18. Reason: typo
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Old Thursday 1st December 2005, 22:00   #7
mattpau
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasmus Boegh
In short: The whole deal started in August - 2003 when Bráulio A. Carlos (a leading Brazilian ornithologist; www.pantanalbirdclub.org) observed a bird in Parque Nacional das Emas (in southern Goiás) that seemingly fitted the description of a male Cone-billed. However, this initial observation was too brief to lead to a conclusive ID. In October roughy a year later Dante Buzzetti (another excellent Brazilian ornithologist; www.dantebuzzetti.com.br/) heard a voice he didn't know (near the locality of the earlier probable observation) and following playback a bird that somwhat resembled an intermediate between a female White-lined Tanager and a female Ultramarine Grosbeak appeared. A few days later yet another song was heard and upon playback a bird that seemingly resembled a male Cone-billed appeared. The bill caused problems as the type specimen of the Cone-billed has a dark bill, while the individual seen had a pale greyish-blue bill (as can be seen on the photo on Atualidades Ornitológieas page; link in post #1). However, checking the original notes by Belioz (who described the species almost 70 yeas ago) it seems the bill of the type specimen originally had been bluish-grey, too (colour changes in various parts of specimens are common). Anyway, further observation in das Emas followed... the rest will have to wait till the larger article is published which will include comments on the female, voice, habitat, etc.
Thanks for this summary. I realize that it is not really known where the type specimen was collected, but is this Parque das Emas in the general area where the tanager was assumed to have been found in 1938, or in a completely different, unexpected spot?
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Old Thursday 1st December 2005, 22:19   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattpau
Thanks for this summary. I realize that it is not really known where the type specimen was collected, but is this Parque das Emas in the general area where the tanager was assumed to have been found in 1938, or in a completely different, unexpected spot?
Yes, it's roughly in an area and habitat where one could expect to relocate it. Of course this is easier said than done as Brazil is an absolutely massive country (larger than Europe excl. Russia) and infra-structure is virtually non-existent in some regions. Indeed, several species are known from Brazil that still haven't been described and more discoveries are almost guaranteed. Still, there's always something special about the return of a species - as in the case of the Cone-billed Tanager.
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Old Friday 2nd December 2005, 16:32   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasmus Boegh
Still, there's always something special about the return of a species - as in the case of the Cone-billed Tanager.
Yes, the discovery of a new species is very exciting, but I find the rediscovery of one thought lost to extinction even more special. Of course the rediscovered species are often critically endangered, and keeping them extant can be no small task. Refinding a creature only to lose it again later (eg Cuban ivorybill?) is a depressing prospect. Still, if you do refind it, at least you know it's there and should have a chance to save it!
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Old Monday 5th December 2005, 12:09   #10
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From the Neotropical Ornithology Birding List:
http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists...tml#1133449681

Subject: Re: rediscovery of Conothraupis mesoleuca?
From: Juan Mazar Barnett <juanmb11 AT AR.INTER.NET>
Date: Thu, 1 Dec 2005 12:08:14 -0300

Hi Roy,

Jeg synes Dansk er en svaere sprog, so I'll write in English. (or something
like that).
Yes, it was a bit unfortunate that the note was published in AO, I reckon, but it was a sort of urgency resource by the authors. (I won't try to explain
that).

However, a fully flegded article is under preparation, and will be submitted to
a wider audience journal.

More unfortunate, I may add, is that I went look for it and did not see it,
shoot. With or without the tanager, Emas Nat Park was still a fantastic place.

If you and anyone else want a pdf, pls email me pvt and I'll forward it.

Juan
PS: Actually, there are about 30 Danes who saw the birds (!), so I guess you will be able to find more info at home.
(boldface by me...)
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