Scientists haven’t been able to find the Dwarf Kingfisher Fledgling for more than 130 years. During the Steere Expedition to the Philippines in 1890, the South Philippine Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx mindanensis) was first named. The bird is the smallest of the Kingfisher species, and its fabulous metallic lilac, orange, and bright blue spots have been known for a long time.

It lives in the forests of Mindanao and Basilan, where it can be found in both new and old forests. The South Philippine Dwarf Kingfisher has a unique call described as a “high-pitched, insect-like and almost inaudible zeeep.” Scientists haven’t figured out what it is because of how it acts. It is hard to see because it sits quietly and darts from perch to perch without being seen.

But thanks to Miguel David De Leon, a Filipino field biologist, and director of the Robert S. Kennedy Bird Conservancy, we can see the beautiful bird in danger of going extinct. In an interview with Esquire Philippines, De Leon said, “The Robert S. Kennedy Bird Conservancy comprises eight field workers and bird photographers. They take pictures of birds and their habitats and write down information about them that scientists didn’t know before. Their goal is to protect species and ecosystems.”

The pictures that De Leon took of the bird’s young were the first ones ever taken of this beautiful animal. The photos are the result of 10 years of hard work by De Leon and his team to track and study the South Philippine Dwarf Kingfisher to document its nesting, feeding, and breeding habits for the first time.

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