[Daily article] April 9: Lesser Antillean macaw

The Lesser Antillean macaw (Ara guadeloupensis) was a parrot of the
Guadeloupe islands. There are no conserved specimens, but this macaw is
known from several contemporary accounts, and the bird is the subject of
some illustrations. Austin Hobart Clark made a species description based
on these accounts in 1905. A phalanx bone from the island of Marie-
Galante confirmed the existence of a similar-sized macaw predating the
arrival of humans, and was correlated with the Lesser Antillean macaw in
2015. According to contemporary descriptions, the body was red, the
wings were red, blue and yellow, and the solid red tail feathers were
between 38 and 51 cm (15 and 20 in) long; apart from the tail feathers
and its smaller size, this description matches the scarlet macaw. These
accounts also said that it ate fruit (including the poisonous
manchineel), nested in trees and laid two eggs once or twice a year.
Although it was said to be abundant in Guadeloupe, by 1760 it was
becoming rare and was soon eradicated, probably by disease and hunting.

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Today’s selected anniversaries:


On his phonautograph machine, Édouard-Léon Scott de
Martinville made the oldest known recording of an audible human voice,
when he recorded himself singing “Au clair de la lune” (audio featured).


The Civil Rights Act of 1866, the United States’ first federal
law to affirm that all citizens are equally protected by the law, was


During the German invasion of Norway, Vidkun Quisling seized
control of the government in a Nazi-backed coup d’état.


Fighters from the Zionist paramilitary groups Irgun and Lehi
attacked Deir Yassin near Jerusalem, killing over 100.


Invasion of Iraq: Coalition forces captured Baghdad and the
statue of Saddam Hussein in Firdos Square was toppled.

Wiktionary’s word of the day:

1. (transitive) To soil or stain; to dirty.
2. (transitive) To corrupt or damage.
3. (intransitive) To become soiled or tarnished.

Wikiquote quote of the day:

  “Life is like a sewer — what you get out of it depends on what
you put into it.” It’s always seemed to me that this is precisely the
sort of dynamic, positive thinking that we so desperately need today in
these trying times of crisis and universal brouhaha.  
–Tom Lehrer

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