The Zapata rail (Cyanolimnas cerverai) is a medium-sized, dark-coloured
rail. It has brown upperparts, greyish-blue underparts, a red-based
yellow bill, white undertail coverts, and red eyes and legs. Its short
wings render it almost flightless. It is endemic to the wetlands of the
Zapata Peninsula in southern Cuba, where its only known nest was found
in sawgrass tussocks. Little is known of its diet or reproductive
behaviour, and its described calls may belong to a different species.
The Zapata rail was discovered by Spanish zoologist Fermín Zanón
Cervera in March 1927 in the Zapata Swamp near Santo Tomás, in the
southern Matanzas Province of Cuba. The swamp holds one other bird found
nowhere else, the Zapata wren, and also gives its name to the Zapata
sparrow. Due to ongoing habitat loss in its limited range, its small
population size, and predation by introduced mammals and catfish, the
Zapata rail is evaluated as critically endangered on the International
Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of threatened species.
The swamp is listed as an internationally important wetland by the
Convention on Wetlands.
Today’s selected anniversaries:
The peerage and clergy of the Kingdom of England imposed the
Ordinances of 1311 to restrict King Edward II’s powers.
A group of merchants led by Adriaen Block presented a petition
to the States General of the Netherlands to receive exclusive trading
privileges for the New Netherland colony.
French Revolutionary Wars: The Royal Navy captured eleven Dutch
Navy ships without any losses in the Battle of Camperdown.
Armed insurgents from the People’s Liberation Army of Macedonia
attacked Axis-occupied zones in the city of Prilep, beginning the
National Liberation War of Macedonia.
Apollo 7 (lift-off pictured), the first manned mission of
NASA’s Apollo program, and the first three-man American space mission,
launched from Complex 34 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Wiktionary’s word of the day:
(chiefly Britain, idiomatic) A large group of photographers
simultaneously capturing images of a celebrity, producing numerous
photographic flashes along with an accompanying din of clicking camera
Wikiquote quote of the day:
We face the future fortified with the lessons we have learned from
the past. It is today that we must create the world of the future.
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