As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Surprising DNA test result leads to bird discovery

By Rob Verger Published June 27, 2016 

The two types of brown birds look like birds of a feather. But their genomes tell a different story. 

DNA testing has revealed that the two types of birds— previously thought to be subspecies— are in fact different species, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) reports.

The bird is called the streak-eared bulbul, and it’s common in Southeast Asia. One type, with red eyes, is called Pycnonotus blanfordi blanfordi, and lives in Myanmar. The other, with blue or greyish eyes, lives in Thailand, and is called Pycnonotus blanfordi conradi.

“Streak-eared bulbul is a very common bird. It’s in city parks in Bangkok or in Rangoon,” Robert Tizard, a senior technical advisor to the WCS’s Mynamar program, told from Thailand. “It’s a garden species that people would see every day if they were out looking.”

The similarities between the two birds don’t stop at their appearance, even if there are some subtle differences, Tizard said.

“They sound very similar as well,” he said. “They make these screechy sounds — sort of a scratchy call — that isn’t particularly distinctive. So everybody just considered them as a common species with some slight differences.”

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