The tiny Blue-eyed Ground Dove from the dry parts of North Eastern Brazil was considered extinct, with no observations since 1940. In 2015, the Brazilian ornithologist Rafael Bessa sensationally rediscovered the species while exploring a remote area near Botumirin, Minas Gerais. It is natural bush country on poor, sandy soil, with high water level, flat rocky parts and rich flower and grass vegetation of endemic plant species.
Shortly after the discovery,the area of 600 ha was purchased, fenced and protected, thanks to BirdLife International and Save Brasil, with support from Rainforest Trust, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund and Fundacão Grupo Boticario. The area is connected to another 3500 ha of protected land. A survey of the population of Blue-eyed Ground Doves in 2017 showed, that there is probably only 14 birds in the World (6+6+2). They only use an area of 17 ha, of the 600 ha in total. Project Assistant Biologist Marcelo Juaqueira showed us 3 birds, 2 calling males and one female. They could be studied from the dirt road, along the fence. The species is very obliging, calling from their song post a few metres away from us. First study results indicate, that it seems to reproduce very slowly. Investigation on possible threats are now ongoing, including possible predation.
A permit is needed to visit the place.