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India’s first new bird species in a decade discovered

A bird eats peanuts from a hand at the Lazienki Park in Warsaw, November 18. A large amount of snow covered Warsaw today for the first time this year, causing traffic problems.
**DIGITAL IMAGE**
A bird eats peanuts from a hand at the Lazienki Park in Warsaw, November 18. A large amount of snow covered Warsaw today for the first time this year, causing traffic problems. **DIGITAL IMAGE**

Washington: The find of a new species of bird in northeastern India and adjacent parts of China has marked the first discovery in a decade and the fourth since 1949.

The team from Sweden, China, the U.S., India and Russia named the bird as Himalayan forest thrush Zoothera salimalii. The scientific name honors the great Indian ornithologist Salim Ali, in recognition of his contributions to the development of Indian ornithology and nature conservation.

The discovery process for the Himalayan forest thrush began in 2009 when it was realized that what was considered a single species, the plain-backed thrush Zoothera mollissima, was in fact two different species in northeastern India, said Pamela Rasmussen of Michigan State University.

During fieldwork in the mountains, researchers noticed that thrushes in the forests sang much more musically than those on the rocky peaks. They then discovered physical and genetic differences as well, and have now declared the known “plain-backed thrush” to be two distinct species.

In the last 15 years, on an average, approximately five new species have been discovered annually, mainly in South America. The Himalayan forest thrush is only the fourth new bird species described from India since 1949.

The study is described in the journal Avian Research. (ANI)

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