Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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'Extinct' Jerdon's Babbler Re-discovered in Myanmar After 74 Years

Jerdon's babbler

(Photo : Jerdon's babbler

Jerdon's Babbler is a species of bird believed to be extinct until it unexpectedly resurfaced in Myanmar. This brown and white bird is roughly the size of a house sparrow.

It was last spotted in Myitkyo, Myanmar, near the Sittaung River, in July of 1941. Its range across Southeast Asia is believed to have disappeared entirely. A team of researched confirmed it's alive and flying.

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The scientists heard the bird's unique call while conducting research near an abandoned agricultural research station in Myanmar. As its name hints, the babbler's call is a long, weak warble featuring as many seven notes.

The species was first discovered in January 1862 by T. C. Jerdon, a British naturalist.

DNA gathered from the birds will be examined to see if the animals is a true species apart from other animals. If this is the case, Jerdon's babbler will be considered endemic to Myanmar, and highly threatened due to habitat loss.

That nation has more species of birds than any other country in the region. Naturalists continue to find additional varieties of the animals whose numbers are expected to grow.

"Our sound recordings indicate that there may be pronounced bioacoustic differences between the Myanmar subspecies and those further west, and genetic data may well confirm the distinctness of the Myanmar population," said Frank Rheindt, a member of the field team that found the birds.

Without genetic information, the bird will be classified as a sub-species, one of three found in South Asia's Indus, Bhramaputra and Ayeyarwady River basins.

Scientists say work needs to be done to shore-up conservation efforts in local communities to ensure the bird doesn't go missing again.

The details of bird's rediscovery were published in Birding Asia, the journal of the Oriental Bird Club.

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