The ivory-billed woodpecker hasn't been spotted for nearly 80 years — now birdwatchers are being challenged to prove it still exists - petsitterbank

The ivory-billed woodpecker hasn’t been spotted for nearly 80 years — now birdwatchers are being challenged to prove it still exists

The ivory-billed woodpecker has avoided being labeled extinct in the US, after birdwatchers insisted that the bird is still out there somewhere.

The woodpecker, which has a wingspan of around 75 centimetres, was due to be bumped off the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s critically endangered list this September.

If that happened it would lose all the legal protections that come with the endangered status.

But the agency was persuaded to reconsider the decision by birdwatchers who are sure the creature could still be lurking deep in the swamps and hardwood forests of the American South.

“There’s a lot of passion, enthusiasm for this bird, it’s nicknamed the ‘Lord God Bird’ because it’s so big,” Fish and Wildlife Service spokesperson Ian Fischer said.

“But there has been no clear evidence that it lives, unfortunately.”

The woodpecker was last spotted in Louisiana in 1944, and now the agency has put bird-lovers on 30-day notice to produce clear photographic or video proof that the woodpecker still exists.

“It’s a beautiful bird and no one wants it extinct but we need evidence,” Mr Fisher said.

If no evidence is authenticated it will join a fruit bat, 11 other birds, eight freshwater mussels and two types of fish on the agency’s latest list of already-confirmed extinct animals.

A decision on the woodpecker’s status will be handed down in March next year.

Reuters/ABC

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