Top Ten Photos of 2007 From National Geographic News

Top Ten Photos of 2007 From National Geographic News
<< Previous   5 of 10   Next >>
6. Rare "Smiling" Bird Photographed in Colombia

Call him the Mona Lisa of the bird kingdom.

The rare recurve-billed bushbird, rediscovered by scientists in Colombia after a 40-year absence, sports a curving beak that gives the illusion of an enigmatic smile.

This photograph, taken by a conservationist with the Colombia-based nonprofit Fundacisn ProAves in 2005, is the first public photo of a live bushbird.

The elusive species had not been spotted between 1965 and 2004, due to its limited range and remote habitats. It was seen recently in Venezuela and in a region of northeastern Colombia, where it was photographed.

Researchers found the bird in a 250-acre (101-hectare) reserve next to the Torcoroma Holy Sanctuary near the Colombian town of Ocaqa, where in 1709 locals claimed they saw the image of the Virgin Mary in a tree root. The forests of the sanctuary have been protected by Catholic Church authorities in the centuries since.

The researchers also found and photographed the extremely rare Perija parakeet, of which only 30 to 50 individuals likely survive.

Deforestation and wildfires for agriculture and grazing have denuded much of the birds' habitat, conservationists say.

"[A]s more and more remote areas are being settled, the bushbird reminds us how important it is to conserve as much natural habitat as we can," said Paul Salaman of the American Bird Conservancy.

"Who knows what wonderful biodiversity is being destroyed before it has had a chance to be discovered?"

Christine Dell'Amore

(Top photos determined by number of times viewed.)

 More Photos in the News
 Today's Top 15 Most Popular Stories
 Free Email Newsletter: "Focus on Photography"
—Photograph by Luis Eduardo Urueqa, courtesy Fundacisn ProAves
 
NEWS FEEDS    After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed. After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.

Get our news delivered directly to your desktop—free.
How to Use XML or RSS




 

50 Drives of a Lifetime

Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. No wires or syncing. Download Stitcher free today.