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Wednesday 23 August 2017

A robin? No, it's a flowerpecker

Meet the planet's newest species of bird – and Irish researchers discovered it

A new species of bird has been discovered in Indonesia by a group Trinity researchers
A new species of bird has been discovered in Indonesia by a group Trinity researchers
Emma Jane Hade

Emma Jane Hade

Researchers from Trinity College have discovered a rare and wonderful new species of bird in Indonesia.

Zoologists from the Dublin university discovered the colourful bird after making numerous trips to the "biodiversity hotspot".

They are now proposing that the bird becomes known as the "Wakatobi Flowerpecker", due to its striking similarity to the Grey-sided Flowerpecker, who inhabits an area nearby.

However, the newly discovered bird is significantly larger and more colourful than its namesake and is found in south-east Sulawesi, an Indonesian island.

Zoologists also believe that the two flowerpeckers did not interbreed, despite the fact just 27km of ocean lies between them.

The new findings have been published in an open access journal online, and it is now believed that there is a significant number of species of birds awaiting description in the "under explored" region.

Sean Kelly, a PhD student in zoology at the university – and who has gone on expedition to Indonesia – is the lead author of the new journal article. He said the "discovery and description of species in the region is of major importance".

"This study also highlights the need for integrative, multi-disciplinary research in the region," he said.

Without this we will likely fail to recognise and appreciate the true biodiversity of this remarkable region," he added.

Irish Independent

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