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New bird species discovered in Peru

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - 15:28

Washington: A colourful, fruit-eating bird with a black mask, pale belly and scarlet breast never encountered before has been discovered following an expedition to the remote Peruvian Andes.

The new species was discovered during a 2008 expedition led by Michael G. Harvey, Glenn Seeholzer and Ben Winger, young ornithologists who had recently graduated from Cornell University at the time.

They were accompanied by co-author Daniel Caceres, graduate of the Universidad Nacional de San Agustin in Arequipa, Peru, and local Asheninka guides, the journal The Auk in its latest issue reports.

The team discovered the Sira Barbet, on a ridge in the Cerros del Sira range in the eastern Andes. Steep ridges and deep river gorges in the Andes produce many isolated habitats and microclimates that give rise to uniquely evolved species, according to a Cornell statement.

Though clearly a sister species of the Scarlet-banded Barbet, the Sira Barbet is readily distinguished by differences in colour on the bird`s flanks, lower back and thighs, and a wider, darker scarlet breast band.

The team chose the scientific name of the new species Capito fitzpatricki in honour of Cornell Lab of Ornithology executive director John W. Fitzpatrick, who discovered and named seven new bird species in Peru during the 1970s and `80s.

"Fitz has inspired generations of young ornithologists in scientific discovery and conservation," said Winger. "He was behind us all the way when we presented our plan for this expedition."


First Published: Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - 15:28
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