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.

Sunday 28 January 2018

Scientists tracing call of a bird find new species in Indonesia

JAN 18, 2018, 5:00 AM SGT
Environment Correspondent

With its crimson head and cloak of glossy black feathers, the Rote myzomela is dressed in the colours of a flamenco dancer.

But it was not the diminutive bird's striking appearance that drew the attention of scientists from Singapore and the region. It was its call.

To the layman, the bird's call sounds like an unremarkable series of chirps. But for the researchers, it was a tell-tale sign that the Rote myzomela was a new species of honeyeater.

It was discovered on Pulau Rote, one of the southernmost islands of the Indonesian archipelago.
Ornithologist Philippe Verbelen, one of the scientists behind the discovery, said: "Most bird species have a distinctive song that is unique to that species."

Mr Verbelen, from environmental conservation group Greenpeace, worked with Assistant Professor Frank Rheindt from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and researchers from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences on identifying the bird.

Their findings were published last month in the science journal Treubia.

Although it was only recently confirmed to be a new species, the bird was spotted by Australian ornithologist Ron Johnstone in the 1990s.

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