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.

Thursday 29 June 2017

Red-faced encounter: rare new species of parrot discovered in Mexico

Ornithologists stress importance of conserving the blue-winged Amazon parrot, with no more than 100 of the birds thought to be in existence
 Ian Sample Science editor
Tuesday 27 June 2017 12.56 BST Last modified on Tuesday 27 June 2017 14.08 BST

Miguel Gómez Garza was on his final expedition to the Yucatán Peninsula to gather information for his book Parrots of Mexico when it happened. He heard a group of parrots in the distance, but their call was like none on record. So he loitered by a tree full of pods that parrots like for lunch, hoping they would come and feed.

The wait was worth it. When half a dozen parrots flew over to the tree, Gómez Garza noticed their intense red fronts and the beautiful blue tips on their wing feathers. The plumage set them apart from the two species known to live in the area, which both have distinctive white fronts.

“I could not believe it. The different noise belonged to a different parrot,” said Gómez Garza, a vet and ornithologist at the Autonomous University of Nuevo León in Monterrey, Mexico.

In research published on Tuesday, an international team of scientists describe the new parrot for the first time. Named the blue-winged Amazon parrot, or Amazona gomezgarzai in honour of its discoverer, the bird stands 25cm or so tall and has a loud, short and repetitive call that would not sound out of place on the soundtrack to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.


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