Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Two New Species

BirdLife International reports that two new species of birds have been discovered in Colombia. Both are tapaculos, small brown birds of the forest understory. The Stiles's Tapaculo was discovered in the Cordillera Central mountains. It was separated from its closest relatives by song and by genetic studies. The other, the Upper Magdalena Tapaculo, was discovered in the Finca Marenberg mountains. Like the other species, it is best identified by voice. Its presence could not be confirmed until very recently because of political strife:

"It was frustrating, waiting for years knowing there were new species to be discovered and protected", says Paul Salaman of Fundación ProAves, one of the expedition members.... "Then we learned it was safe to visit the Finca Merenberg mountains and soon found the new species in dense understorey of primary forest...."
Given the ongoing civil war in Colombia, it is amazing that any type of research is accomplished. Yet new species are continually discovered in its remote forests. Here's to the intrepid scientists.