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The primary-ever {photograph} of the yellow-crested helmetshrike

Matt Brady/The College of Texas at El Paso

A uncommon chook with a shocking yellow crest has been photographed for the primary time within the tropical mountains of the Democratic Republic of the Congo – virtually 20 years after its final confirmed sighting.

The yellow-crested helmetshrike (Prionops alberti), also referred to as King Albert’s helmetshrike, is a small chook that lives within the humid forests of the Albertine Rift mountains in central Africa. Adults are coated in shiny black plumage with a splendid crown of brilliant, golden feathers on their heads. Their eyes are surrounded by distinctive orange tissue referred to as a wattle.

After going unseen for a few years, the helmetshrike was listed as a misplaced species by the Search for Lost Birds partnership.

Michael Harvey on the College of Texas at El Paso and his colleagues lastly encountered it once more throughout a six-week expedition to the Itombwe mountains between December 2023 and January 2024.

The group members have been wandering via the cloud forests once they stumbled throughout a bunch of the elusive birds.

“After I got here throughout the birds out on the path, I used to be blown away,” says Harvey. “I used to be anticipating the species to be distinctive and delightful, however I used to be not ready for a way weird and charismatic they have been.”

In all, 18 helmetshrikes have been noticed at three places throughout the expedition. This means there could also be a wholesome inhabitants of the birds, that are at present thought of susceptible by the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature.

The group additionally noticed different species that have been thought of misplaced throughout the journey, together with the red-bellied squeaker frog (Arthroleptis hematogaster), final seen within the Nineteen Fifties.

“The distinctive, poorly recognized and specialised species of the Congo are nonetheless on the market,” says Harvey. “Nonetheless, pursuits like mining and forestry are shifting in earlier than scientists and conservationists have had the chance to step in and work with native communities to guard them.”

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