Video: A songbird “disappears” on the sensitive board

After escaping from the eyes of scientists for 170 years, the mysterious black-browed mouse imalia has been captured by the birds for the first time.

In the dense forests of Kalimantan in Indonesia on the island of Borneo, local bird watchers spotted an unknown songbird last year. A special find: it was believed that this bird, the so-called black-browed mouse imalia (Malacocincla Persicillata) Extinct. This species has not been seen in the wild for 170 years.

To learn more about the mysterious bird, the same group recently returned to the Indonesian forests. They not only found the bird, but were able to capture it with a camera for the first time.

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The imalia black rat is a grey-brown passing bird that was discovered in the 19th century in the then Dutch East Indies. In Europe it was later described by the French ornithologist Charles Bonaparte, who worked at the National Museum of Natural History in Leiden.

Until Indonesian bird watchers discovered this animal in 2020, this specimen, which is still in the possession of the Natural History Museum, was the only evidence of the existence of this species.


Banji Gusti Akbar is a member of the Indonesian birdwatching group Birdpacker, who went again to look for the mysterious songbird last September. The team succeeded in spotting a pair among the dense greenery of Kotabaru, on the southeastern tip of Kalimantan.

According to Akbar, the birds moved cautiously: quietly, as if inconspicuous as possible. This behavior may explain why birds have eluded science for so long.

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Photos and videos of the black-browed mouse should help ornithologists learn more about the “disappearing” creature. There is still much to explore. For example, very little is known about the lifestyle, population size and distribution of this songbird.

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Resources: birds of asiaAnd new world

Build: Bungie Gusti Akbar; new world / youtube

Megan Vasquez

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