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10 New Birds Discovered In Lost World

2020-1-13 18:58| 发布者: hujian| 查看: 40| 评论: 0

摘要:   Brilliantly coloured, noisy, and active during the day, many birds are easy to spot—and>  But 2020 will be different, as scientists have just announced 10 previously undescribed species and sub ...

  

 


Brilliantly coloured, noisy, and active during the day, many birds are easy to spot—and>

  But 2020 will be different, as scientists have just announced 10 previously undescribed species and subspecies from three Indonesian islands east of Sulawesi.

  This amazing avian haul was collected over six weeks in 2013 and 2014 to the mountainous islands of Taliabu, Peleng, and Batudaka, locations that were suspected to be hideouts for unknown birds, says study leader Frank Rheindt, an ornithologist at the National University of Singapore. One reason is that 19th-century explorers, such as British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, did not spend much time on these islands.

  “We were also particularly intent on visiting islands surrounded by deep sea. Because they have not been connected to any other land mass during the ice ages, they are very promising places to discover species not found anywhere else,” says Rheindt, whose study appears in this week’s Science.

  Scientists are particularly concerned about the Taliabu grasshopper warbler, whose habitat may have shrunk to a few square kilometers due to wildfire and logging.

  PHOTOGRAPH BY JAMES EATON, BIRDTOUR ASIA

  Many tropical forest birds shy away from open areas, so that “a stretch of ocean or even a highway can prevent their movement from one forested area to another,” he says. The few birds that do accidentally end up on isolated islands, for example after they are blown out to sea by a storm, may give rise to new species.

  Two of the newfound animals are leaf warblers that belong to a group of small, insect-eating songbirds that live across the Old World. Others include the Taliabu myzomela, a type of honeyeater that feeds on a wide array of nectar and fruit, and the Peleng fantail, a bird that does its name justice by fanning its tail feathers when it is upset or alarmed.

  Field biologist Mochamad Indrawan of Universitas Indonesia was the first to collect and report the Peleng fantail but was not involved in the current publication.

  “I really applaud the description of new species,” says Indrawan, who has worked with communities on the island to protect their forests for nearly 30 years. “They are very useful. But this is the age of extinction, the age of climate change, so I hope we can do more than that to protect these birds.”

  SEE 13 AMAZING PICTURES OF BIRDS

FollowPhotos13 Photos Capture the Beauty and Ferocity of Birdsloading...
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  This shot of a grey heron in Hungary won a silver award in the attention to detail category.

  PHOTOGRAPH BY AHMAD AL-ESSA

Singing a different tune

  During their expedition, Rheindt and colleagues>

  The first time Rheindt and colleagues hiked the mountains of Taliabu, they were hit with heavy rain and considered turning back. “Then I heard the typical insect-like chirping sound of a species of grasshopper warbler I had never heard before,” he recalls.

  It would take a few more climbs to finally spot the tiny brown bird now named the Taliabu grasshopper warbler.

  The team collected specimens of the birds, and back in the lab, carefully described their appearance and anatomy. The birds' DNA and recorded songs were also analysed to confirm the animals were different enough from any known species to be named a new species or a subspecies.

No place left to go

  Since all these birds likely live nowhere else, they’re vulnerable to extinction, particularly due to wildfire and deforestation, which has been rampant on these islands, the authors say.

FollowVideoBeautiful And Elusive: This Bird Is Losing Its HomeRoger Fotso has been a key force in establishing numerous prominent national parks around Cameroon as part of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Today he's headed just outside the capital city of Yaoundé to the Kala Forest in search of one of his favourite birds, the beautiful and elusive Grey-necked Picathartes. To find this rare rock-fowl would serve as a sign that the forest is in good condition and still serving as a suitable habitat despite imminent threats of climate change and illegal logging.loading...

  Rheindt is especially concerned about the grasshopper warbler.

  “We’ve only found the bird in a small patch of dwarf vegetation high up in the mountains, in an area quite vulnerable to wildfire. As temperatures and drought increase, fire risk will too, and this bird has no higher place left to go.”

  Study coauthor Dewi Prawiradilaga, a biologist at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, adds that “we have to be optimistic that the publication of our discovery will help to keep the birds and their habitat safe,”

  She hopes the Indonesian government will consider granting the newly discovered species and subspecies protected status.

Lead Image: The Togian jungle flycatcher is a new subspecies of bird found on Batudaka, which is part of the Togian Islands.

  PHOTOGRAPH BY JAMES EATON, BIRDTOUR ASIA



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