|Bogota Sunangel, a hummingbird that was last seen alive over 100 years ago. Painting by John Fjeldsa from The Auk v. 110, issue 1.|
The Bogota Sunangel is perhaps the rarest species of hummingbird on the planet. It is known from only a single specimen, purchased in 1909 in Bogota, Colombia. For many years, people speculated that it might not even be a species, but rather a rare hybrid between other known species. (Hybrids have been mistaken for new species before. For example, see the "Brewer's Duck.") Just last year, scientists used DNA from the only specimen in existence to demonstrate that the Bogota Sunangel was in fact a real species, not a hybrid.
James Currie has been filming the only tv show I know of devoted to birding, "Birding Adventures", for a couple years now. On his Facebook page this afternoon, he reported that "Hey all - sorry its been so long since the last post but we are filming in Colombia. Having an absolute blast. Supposed to return tomorrow but we are extending our stay to try film the Bogota Sunangel. This hummingbird was last known from a specimen in 1909 so its 102 years since its been recorded! It has just been found. Wish us luck!" The ornithology world is waiting anxiously to see if his crew can secure footage of this amazing bird.