New bird discovered in rainforests of Borneo

A new species of bird has been discovered by Leeds University biologist Richard Webster in the heart of rainforests of Borneo, while he was walking along a 250 meter-high canopy-walkway set-up for tourists.

He didn't recognize the bird and took photos of the individual and later shared them with Dr. David Edwards, an ornithologist from Leeds University who has been studying birds in the area for three years. After checking with several museums, they realized that no one had ever recorded such a bird.

The spectacled flowerpecker, a small, wren-sized, grey bird, was feeding on some flowering mistletoe in a tree. On one sighting it was heard singing.

The bird has white markings around its eyes, belly and breast. It has not yet been given a scientific name because so little is known about it.

"It's like a dream come true," Dr Edward said. "I've spent all these years, decades, watching birds and all you want to do really is discover a new species to science.

"All that tropical field work has paid off, all the mosquitoes, the leeches, the rainstorms and the mud have been worthwhile."

The team caught sight of the birds several times in the days following its first appearance.

They were working in the Danum Valley Conservation Area in Sabah, Malaysia, last summer.

"The discovery of a new bird species in the heart of Borneo underlines the incredible diversity of this remarkable area," said Adam Tomasek, leader of WWF's Heart of Borneo initiative.

Borneo has lost nearly half of its forests over the last fifty years due primarily to logging and clearance for oil palm plantations. Timber was extracted to make lawn furniture, chopsticks, and paper pulp. In more recent decades, oil palm plantations—which are unsuitable habitat for the majority of Borneo's species—has overrun the island. Malaysia is the world's largest producer of palm oil.

The findings are published in the latest issue of Oriental Bird Club's journal BirdingASIA.

Via - BBC News , Wildlife Extra



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