Just days ago, biologist Chris Filardi, of the American Museum of Natural History's Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, completed a goal nearly 20 years in the making: to find and photograph a moustached kingfisher.
All that was known about these elusive birds, native to the forests of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, came from just three female specimens collected half-a-century prior. Male moustached kingfishers, meanwhile, had never once been observed by scientists before - but that all changed last week. Now we know just how stunning they really are.
In a blog post, beautifully written on location in Guadalcanal, Filardi describes the eureka moment:
When I came upon the netted bird in the cool shadowy light of the forest I gasped aloud, 'Oh my god, the kingfisher.' One of the most poorly known birds in the world was there, in front of me, like a creature of myth come to life. We now have the first photos ever taken of the bird, as well as the first definitive recordings of its unmistakable call.