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New flowerpecker species discovered in imperiled lowland forests of Borneo

18 / 10 / 2019, Mongabaycom News

There’s a new species of fruit-eating bird in Borneo that is now known as the Spectacled Flowerpecker. The species wasn’t entirely unknown up until now. Scientists and birdwatchers have spotted the small, gray bird in the lowland tropical forests of Borneo in the past, with the first sighting appearing to have occurred in Sabah, Malaysia’s Danum Valley in 2009. But a team led by scientists at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.  collected a specimen and studied the species for the first time. The researchers formally described the Spectacled Flowerpecker to science in a study published in the journal Zootaxa yesterday. There are close to 50 species in the flowerpecker family spread throughout tropical southern Asia, Australia, and neighboring islands. Borneo is home to 13 of the currently known and accepted flowerpecker species; only the island of Sumatra and the Philippines harbor more flowerpeckers, with 16 species and 15 species, respectively. Despite living in close proximity to so many of its cousins, molecular analysis shows that the Spectacled Flowerpecker isn’t closely related to any other known flowerpecker species, according to Christopher Milensky, the collections manager for the National Museum of Natural History’s Division of Birds who led the survey during which the discovery of the new species occurred. “This bird is totally unique,” Milensky said in a statement. “It’s unlike anything else, and it is the latest example of the rich biodiversity that can be found in this region.” A scientific illustration of the Spectacled Woodpecker…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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