24th November 2014
A team led by researchers from Princeton University, Michigan State University and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences have confirmed the discovery of a new bird species more than 15 years after the elusive animal was first seen on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
The Sulawesi streaked flycatcher (Muscicapa sodhii), whose discovery has just been confirmed 15 years after the first sighting in Indonesia, is distinguished by its mottled throat and short wings. (Photo by Martin Lindop & Ticiana Jardim Marini)
The newly named Sulawesi streaked flycatcher (Muscicapa sodhii), distinguished by its mottled throat and short wings, was found in the forested lowlands of Sulawesi where it had last been observed. The researchers report in PLOS ONE that the new species is markedly different from other flycatchers in its plumage (feathers), body structure, song and genetics, proving that it is a new species. Because the bird has survived in a region heavily degraded by cacao plantations, the species is not currently at risk of extinction.
"Considering that 98 percent of the world's birds have been described, finding a new species is quite rare," said co-author J. Berton C. Harris, a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton's Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy, which is based at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. "And despite being a globally important avian hotspot, Sulawesi has largely gone unstudied by ornithologists."