Kolkata: A new species of bird has been discovered in northeast India and adjacent parts of China by a team scientists from India, Sweden, China, US, and Russia. The bird Himalayan Forest Thrush has been distinguished as a separate species by researchers and the discovery has been published in the international Avian Research journal.
This is only the fourth new bird species described from India by modern ornithologists since independence. Himalayan Forest Thrush is common in eastern Himalaya and so far believed to be a sub-species of Plain-backed Thrush.
“It’s a remarkable discovery and shows how much more we’ve to do in the field of ornithology in India. It also proves northeastern India is a treasure trove of biodiversity that needs protection from mega projects planned in Arunachal Pradesh without giving any attention to biodiversity conservation”, Asad Rahmani of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) said in a statement.
Scientifically named as Zoothera salimalii, this is the first Indian bird named after the late ‘father of Indian ornithology’ Dr Salim Ali. The bird has been named after him in recognition of his contributions to the development of modern Indian ornithology and wildlife conservation.
Per Alstrom and Shashank Dalvi had first discovered the species in 2009 while studying birds at high elevations in western Arunachal Pradesh, the researchers said. It was realised that instead of a single species – Plain-backed Thrush (Zoothera mollissima) as believed till now, in reality there exist two different species in eastern Himalaya.
Till now Himalayan Forest Thrush has been overlooked because of its close similarity in appearance to the Plain-backed Thrush, now renamed as Alpine Thrush. The researchers said they came to the conclusion after studying specimens in 15 museums across seven countries which revealed consistent differences in plumage and structure in the birds from the above two populations.