WORCESTER'S BUTTONQUAIL Turnix worcesteri
February 18, 2009—A
rare quail from the Philippines was photographed for the first
time before being sold as food at a poultry market, experts
Found only on the island of Luzon, Worcester's
buttonquail was known solely through drawings based on dated
museum specimens collected several decades ago.
Scientists had suspected the species—listed
as "data deficient" on the International Union for
Conservation of Nature's 2008 Red List—was extinct.
(See related bird photo: "Rare
'Smiling' Bird Photographed in Colombia.")
A TV crew documented the live bird in the
market (above) before it was sold in January, according to
the Agence France-Press news agency.
Michael Lu, president of the Wild Bird Club
of the Philippines, told AFP the bird's demise should inspire
a "local consciousness" about the region's threatened
"What if this was the last of its species?"
However, the buttonquail is from a "notoriously
cryptic and unobtrusive family of birds," according to
the nonprofit Birdlife International, so the species may survive
undetected in other regions.
Photograph courtesy Arnel B. Telesforo