10 (!) New Bird Species Discovered in Indonesia

Image: James Eaton

Discovering new species is always exciting but researchers in Indonesia have made a species discovery that’s setting records. As NatGeo reported,

In the past two decades, an average of fewer than six new bird species have been described every year in the entire world. But 2020 will be different, as scientists have just announced 10 previously undescribed species and subspecies from three Indonesian islands east of Sulawesi.

Meet The Newbies: After trekking through jungles and rainstorms, researchers from the National University of Singapore have confirmed the discovery of the following species:

  • Two of the newfound animals are leaf warblers that belong to a group of small, insect-eating songbirds that live across the Old World.
  • Others include the Taliabu myzomela, a type of honeyeater that feeds on a wide array of nectar and fruit, and the Peleng fantail, a bird that does its name justice by fanning its tail feathers when it is upset or alarmed.

Alluring Songs: During their expedition, researchers primarily listened to the songs of the birds, comparing them to known species on other Indonesian islands. The team then collected specimens of the birds, and back in the lab, carefully described their appearance and anatomy. The birds’ DNA and recorded songs were also analyzed to confirm the animals were different enough from any known species to be named a new species or a subspecies.

Why This Matters: There are still countless species that we haven’t yet discovered and because of climate change time may be running out. It’s the hope of the researchers that discovered these birds that the government of Indonesia will grant them protected status so they can better adapt to human threats.

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