Independent Researchers Confirm the Existence of Ivory-billed Woodpecker

Aug 02, 2005

After reviewing new sound recordings from the White River of Arkansas, an independent team of ornithologists has confirmed the existence of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.

Working from previously unpublished data provided to them in the last few days by John Fitzpatrick and colleagues at Cornell University, ornithologists at Yale, the University of Kansas, and Florida Gulf Coast University have concluded that the bird has been indeed been detected for the first time in decades.

Yale ornithologist Richard Prum states, “We were very skeptical of the first published reports, and thought that the previous data were not sufficient to support this startling conclusion. But the thrilling new sound recordings provide clear and convincing evidence that the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is not extinct.”

The unpublished recordings include a series of distinctive “kent” call notes and an exchange of the diagnostic “double raps” between two individuals. According to Mark Robbins of the University of Kansas, “The recordings of the double raps sound very natural, and are totally consistent with the behavior or the Central and South American relatives of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.”

These recordings provide the first evidence of the existence of more than one individual Ivory-bill. Cornell researchers plan to release the recordings at a meeting of the American Ornithologists’ Union in Santa Barbara, California at the end of the month.

Prum and colleagues had prepared a manuscript critical of the original reports to the journal PLoS Biology. In that manuscript which is withdrawn, the authors concluded that definitive evidence was still necessary and wrote, “We sincerely hope that this evidence is forthcoming soon.”

Now it is. Prum and Robbins are delighted.

Source: Yale University

Explore further: CAT scan of nearby supernova remnant reveals frothy interior

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Peering into cosmic magnetic fields

Jan 22, 2015

The generation of cosmic magnetic fields has long intrigued astrophysicists. Since it was first described in 1959, a phenomenon known as Weibel filamentation instability—a plasma instability present in ...

Pumas in populated areas kill more and eat less

Jan 22, 2015

Female pumas in areas with a high density of housing kill more deer but eat less of the carcasses than those in areas with little housing, finds a study in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

These jellyfish aren't just drifters

Jan 22, 2015

Jellyfish might look like mere drifters, but some of them have a remarkable ability to detect the direction of ocean currents and to swim strongly against them, according to new evidence in free-ranging barrel-jellyfish ...

Recommended for you

The tell-tale signs of a galactic merger

16 hours ago

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured this striking view of spiral galaxy NGC 7714. This galaxy has drifted too close to another nearby galaxy and the dramatic interaction has twisted its spiral ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.