Alaotra Grebe

Scientific Name
Tachybaptus rufolavatus
Conservation Status
Extinct (EX)

Recent Nearby Sightings

Range Map

Wikipedia Article

The Alaotra Grebe (Tachybaptus rufolavatus), also known as Delacour's Little Grebe or Rusty Grebe, was a grebe endemic to Lake Alaotra and surrounding lakes in Madagascar. The last sighting (which may have been a hybrid with the Little Grebe) was in 1985 and the species was declared extinct in 2010. Only one photograph of the species is known to exist. The grebe was a bird of about in length. Its ability to fly long distances is believed to have been restricted by its small wings. The species declined in the course of the 20th century, mainly because of habitat destruction, entanglement with monofilament gillnets and predation by the introduced snakehead murrel (Channa striata). Also, the few remaining birds increasingly hybridized with Little Grebes which use the wetlands as a migration stopover site; as the species differed in several key aspects, the hybrid birds may have suffered from decreased fitness, to the detriment of the rufolavatus gene pool. The Madagascar Pochard, which also lived on Lake Alaotra, was thought to be extinct but was rediscovered in 2006. Unlike this species, however, the grebe had poor powers of dispersal and was never found elsewhere. The species was officially declared extinct in 2010, 25 years after the last confirmed sighting. Although some species have been classified as extinct and later have been found to still exist, Leon Bennun, the director of the conservation organization BirdLife International has stated that "no hope remains for this species" and blames the "unforeseen consequences" of human action. This extinction brings the number of confirmed bird extinctions since 1600 AD to 162. The previous confirmed extinction of a bird species was of the Liverpool Pigeon (Caloenas maculata) in 2008.