In 1990, a group of Cambridge scientists arrived at the Plains of Nechisar in Ethiopia, where they collected more than two dozen specimens and saw more than three hundred species of birds and a plethora of flora and fauna. As they were gathering up their findings, a wing of an unidentified bird was packed into a brown paper bag. It was to become the most famous wing in the world.Experts were mystified. The wing was entirely unique. After much discussion, a new species was announced: Nechisar Nightjar, or Camprimulgus Solala, which means "only wing." And so birdwatchers like Vernon began to dream. Twenty-two years later, he joins an expedition of four to find this rarest bird in the world. In this gem of nature writing, Vernon captivates and enchants as he recounts the searches by spotlight through the Ethiopian plains, and allows the reader to mediate on nature, exploration, our need for wild places, and the human compulsion to name things. Rarest Bird is a celebration of a certain way of seeing the world, and will bring out the explorer in in everyone who reads it.
Vernon R.L. Head was born in Cape Town, South Africa. He is an award winning architecture and the Chairman of BirdLife South Africa, one of Africa's biggest and most influential conservation organizations. When not working on environmental matters, he is either designing special buildings or traveling the world looking for the rare birds. This is his first book.