Jerdon's Babbler
Jerdon's BabblerWCS of Myanmar

A bird that was thought to be extinct for more than 70 years has been rediscovered by a team of scientists in Myanmar.

Jerdon's Babbler was last seen in Burma in 1941, living among the greenery of Myitkyo, near the Sittuang River.

However, while the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) of Myanmar was conducting a survey at some nearby grasslands in the Bago region on 30 May 2014, they heard the distinct call of the bird, which is about the same size as a house sparrow.

The team recorded the sound, played it back and found they were quickly greeted by an adult male Jerdon's Babbler. Over the course of the next two days, they spotted more in several locations.

"The degradation of these vast grasslands had led many to consider this subspecies of Jerdon's Babbler extinct," said Colin Poole, director of WCS's Regional Conservation Hub in Singapore.

"This discovery not only proves that the species still exists in Myanmar but that the habitat can still be found as well. Future work is needed to identify remaining pockets of natural grassland and develop systems for local communities to conserve and benefit from them."

It was thought that the birds had died out as communities took over vast amounts of the grasslands, which were their natural habitat.

The team were surveying the area as part of a larger study to understand the bird species of Myanmar. The findings were recently published in Birding Asia magazine.