We like to think that we’ve already discovered everything on our magnificent planet, but this is very far from being the truth. Even today, many species are still yet to be discovered, while others are so rare that we know very little about them. Such is the case of the South Philippine Dwarf Kingfisher, who has been photographed for the first time ever only two months ago. The birds were first discovered back in 1890, but there was little documentation of it thanks to its elusive nature.
Recently, thanks to Miguel David De Leon, an eye surgeon and bird enthusiast from the Philipines, the world got the first glance of the little pastel-colored bird, in 130 years. The doctor and his birding group, The Robert S. Kennedy Bird Conservancy, explore the dense rainforests of the Philipines, hoping to snap a few pictures of new and exciting species. De Leon has been obsessed with learning more about the South Philippine Dwarf Kingfisher, ever since he began bird watching ten years ago.
The elusive birds build their nests in tiny holes and cavities in trees, keeping their babies out of plain sight. As a result, no fledgling was ever caught on camera, and scientists knew very little about the sneaky bird’s lifecycle.
Then, on March 11, 2020, everything changed. Dr. De Leon and his birding group finally spotted a baby South Philippine Dwarf Kingfisher. The baby bird was calmly sitting on a branch, enabling De Leon to snap the very first photo of one. Scientists were surprised to learn that the fledglings change the colors of their beaks from black to orange as they grow older, a fact that prior to this photo, was unknown. Researchers will be able to use De Leon’s photos to further study these spectacular birds, and find how they can protect them.
Well done Dr. Miguel David De Leon!
Don’t miss the video of the elusive South Philippine Dwarf Kingfisher here:
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