This might look like a generic picnic crasher that you’d see pecking crumbs at the park, but it’s actually the rare and elusive blackthroated blue robin, several of which were recently spotted in NW China. BBC reports:
The blackthroat, or blackthroated blue robin (Calliope obscura) is one of the world’s rarest “robins”, being known from only a handful of records since it was first described in the 1890s.
In 2011, experts resighted a small number of male blackthroats in China. But now they have sighted a female and a breeding pair, learning more about the robin’s behavior.
In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, about 10 individuals were collected at two locations in Shaanxi and Gansu provinces between May and August, during what was thought to the bird’s breeding season.
Since then, there have been very few records of the species, the bird being occasionally sighted in China and Thailand, with a few specimens appearing in markets that trade birds.
The blackthroat is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and almost nothing was known about its behavior or breeding.
In other good bird news, the Whooper Swan population is reportedly booming under government protection. We just hope neither of them taste good, lest they meet the same fate as another rare chirper, the Yellow Breasted Bunting. Or these guys.