With over 470 bird species on the REGUA list, it appears almost tantalizingly difficult to find a new species. If one looks carefully though, there are a number of species that should be here, yet they have not been recorded. Similarly there are some species which have only occurred once or twice over the last dozen years. It was one of these species which our volunteer bird guides were to come across.
Clive Saunders is a UK biology teacher, well-travelled and wanted to spend time in the field seeing the birds he is so passionate about. He has already visited REGUA some 6 years ago and applied to the REGUA volunteer programme as a volunteer guide. This would offer him a deserved career break and a very good opportunity to familiarize himself with the species of the Neotropics here in Rio de Janeiro state.
Wes Homoya is another terrific young birder and US biologist hailing from Indiana, and wanting to dedicate his life to seeing birds around the world and build up a sturdy reputation as an ace bird guide.
Walking the wetlands one day, they spied a bird resembling the Purple Gallinule Porphyrio martinica a bird which is easily found at REGUA, with its vivid plumage and red bill an instant give-away. However they realised they were looking at a slightly paler version and recognized this as an Azure Gallinule Porphyrio flavirostris, an overlooked species that is common throughout South America but not as common as its purple cousin.
Since its discovery at REGUA by Richard Thaxton on 23 October 2014, it has since been seen intermittently by many other guests. Well done Clive and Wes.