This is unbelievable!
A rare quail from the Philippines, the Worcester’s Buttonquail was photographed for the first time (ever) before unfortunately being sold as food at a poultry market, experts say.
The rare bird was spotted on the credits a DVD documentary called Bye-Bye Birdies. The image of the bird flashed up for only a second, but a British birder Desmond Allen knew it was something special and raised the alarm.
The photo was taken by Arnel B. Telesforo, a member of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, moments after it was trapped in Dalton Pass, a known bird passageway in Nueva Vizcaya in northen Luzon.
Telesforo and other Bird Club members were at Dalton Pass to document the traditional practice of akik, catching wild birds with nets by first attracting them with bright lights on moonless nights.
Unfortunately the bird was misidentified as the less rare Small Buttonquail and ended up in a sack along with several other common Blue-brested Quail.
This is not a happy ending – At a market the next day the birds, including the Buttonquail were bought for ten pesos each by a man who said they were for an ailing elderly relative who requested a meal of wild bird meat to make her stronger.
Michael Lu, president of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, said the bird’s demise should inspire a “local consciousness” about the region’s threatened wildlife.
Lu also said “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.
Image credit, Arnel B. Telesforo.