It’s time again for Draw A Bird Day (hosted by Kerfe and Nina at Method Two Madness and originally championed by Laura at Create Art Everyday) so staying in my uncommon series, I chose a super rare one called a moustached kingfisher. This elusive bird has evaded scientists for centuries, earning the nickname of the “ghost bird” of the Solomon Islands. Just last fall, a group of researchers exploring the mossy jungles of the Guadalcanal, the largest isle in the Solomon Island chain, happened across a male moustached kingfisher and snapped its photo for the first time ever. Extreme introverts, they prefer a very hidden habitat and prior to this discovery, only three specimens had ever been researched and all of those were female.
These birds are only active at dusk and dawn, which also may contribute to their ghost reputation and makes them even harder to spot. Though strangers to research teams, the birds are well-known to the people who live in Guadalcanal who call it Mbarikuku and consider it common. Frank Lambert, one of the researchers on the team who made the recent discovery was also able to capture the call of the moustached kingfisher which you can listen to below:
The discovery of this male moustached kingfisher created a confusion and a bit of an uproar when, minutes after the bird was discovered and photographed, it was quickly killed for further study. This was justified by saying the bird was not in imminent danger of extinction, however it is listed as an endangered species based on current estimates of population size. Researchers think these estimates may be very low and the mysterious bird may actually be more common, but until another “ghost” is spotted, I guess we’ll just never know for sure. If you have an idea for an uncommon creature to include in this series, as always, let me know in the comments!
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham watercolors: Pyrrol Red, Azo Orange, Cobalt Teal, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Quinacridone Gold, Dioxazine Purple, Neutral Tint and Titanium White Gouache. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon blue ink, second pen with black ink, third pen with sepia ink, in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal
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Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!