Scientist under attack after he kills bird that took decades to find

“Described by a single female specimen in the 1920s, two more females brought to collectors by local hunters in the early 1950s, and only glimpsed in the wild once,” he wrote. “Scientists have never observed a male. Its voice and habits are poorly known. Given its history of eluding detection, realistic hopes of finding the bird were slim.”

Yet, defying the odds, Filardi did just that.

After setting mist nets across the forest, he and his team secured a male specimen with a “magnificent all-blue back” and a bright orange face. The discovery brought quite the declaration – “Oh my god, the kingfisher” – and led Filardi to liken it to “a creature of myth come to life”. And then, Filardi killed it – or, in the parlance of scientists, “collected” it.

This wasn’t trophy hunting – but outrage ensued.