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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 July 2005, 18:15 GMT 19:15 UK
'Loneliest' bird now feared dead
Sammy is immortalised on mugs, shirts, badges and postcards
A famous black-winged stilt which has disappeared from its home on a Norfolk nature reserve is now feared dead.

Sammy, had lived at Titchwell Marsh for more than 11 years, but has been missing since May.

The wading stilt is thought to be Britain's most-seen wild bird. Since 1993, he has been viewed by more than 500,000 visitors, the reserve said.

Sammy was nicknamed the nation's loneliest bird because he had never seen another stilt.

The reserve's Dave Hawkins said: "Sammy has been a star attraction at Titchwell and if he has gone for good, I will miss him.

Possible new friend

"There are few individual birds who have evoked such fond memories among so many people."

Sammy, who is thought to be aged 13, had become so popular that he was immortalised on mugs, sweatshirts, pin badges and postcards.

If Sammy is not dead, it is thought he has found another stilt and set up a new home.

Black-winged stilts are rare to the UK, but are more common in southern Europe.

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