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Rare RP quail spotted - on way to cooking pot

Philstar.com
Rare RP quail spotted - on way to cooking pot
Updated February 18, 2009 12:00 AM

Birdwatch
WORCESTER'S BUTTONQUAIL Turnix worcesteri

MALOLOS CITY, Philippines – A rare bird found only in the Philippines was photographed alive for the first time and confirmed to still exist, the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) reported.

Unfortunately, the bird headed straight for the cooking pot after being photographed.

The bird, known as Worcester's buttonquail (Turnix worcesteri), was recorded on both video and still photography by a GMA 7 Network documentary team at Dalton Pass in Nueva Vizcaya last January before it was cooked and eaten. The bird was sold for P10.

The WBCP hailed the discovery of the Worcester's buttonquail.

"We are ecstatic that this rarely seen species was photographed by accident. It may be the only photo of this poorly known bird. But I also feel sad that the locals do not value the biodiversity around them and that this bird was sold for only P10 and headed for the cooking pot," WBCP president Mike Lu said.

"What if this was the last of its species?" Lu added.

Birdwatch
TV host Howie Severino with I-Witness crew
filming in Nueva Vizcaya where the
quail was caught by bird trappers

He said the Worcester's buttonquail was first described based on specimens bought in Quinta Market in Manila in 1902. The bird was named after Dean Conant Worcester, an American zoologist and public official specializing in the Philippines around that time.

The bird was caught by native bird trappers in mid-January and documented by an I-Witness team led by Howie Severino.

Severino and his team had not realized what they had documented until Desmond Allen, a British ornithologist who is a member of the WBCP, spotted a photograph of the bird in the credits of Bye-Bye Birdie, the team's recent I-Witness documentary about the bird-trapping tradition in northern Luzon. Dino Balabo