Bird-spotter find his owl has been cooked
Saturday 23 March 1996
But his excitement turned to horror when locals explained that they had killed it the previous night and eaten it that morning for breakfast.
All that remained of the Rufous Fishing Owl - Latin name Scotopelia ussheri - was the bird's head, some feathers and a few bones left in the cooking pot.
The story of the unfortunate owl - so rare that only about 30 sightings have ever been reported by ornithologists - comes in a faxed message to the African Bird Club in Britain.
Mr Hall, who emigrated to Nigeria from Derby 24 years ago and works for a conservation group, is on a four-week bird tour and could not be contacted this weekend.
But he said in his fax that after catching a glimpse of the bird, which is about twice the size of a British tawny owl, in a forest glade near the River Niger in Edo state in 1995, he returned this year to attempt another sighting.
In the formalised report of the ornithologist, Mr Hall explained: "Inquiries were made of local villagers to ascertain if they knew of the existence of the owl.
"It transpired immediately that not only were they familiar with the owl but one had been killed the previous evening and cooked and eaten that very morning."
Plans are now being drawn up for a conservation scheme to protect the fish-eating bird.
A spokesman for the British Trust for Ornithology said: "It must have been heartbreaking for Mr Hall to discover the owl had been killed and eaten.
"This is the rarest of three species of fishing owl in Africa and found only in a very small area of threatened forest."
- 1 Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
- 2 McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
- 3 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 4 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 5 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery rumours: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Eleven members of same family hospitalised after eating deadly pufferfish
FCKH8: YouTube reinstates provocative anti-sexism video showing young girls swearing
Phone-hacking: The Piers Morgan connection - Mirror admits some stories during Morgan's tenure may have been obtained by illegal means
Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
Poppy Appeal 2014: This is why I won't be wearing a red poppy this year
£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...