Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Something New To Keep Your Eye Out for at the Feeder

hould you happen to live in equatorial Africa.

Smithsonian scientists published their discovery of a new bird species in Gabon in August. I just got the teletype.

Behold, the Olive-backed Forest Robin:

Olive-backed Forest Robin

Researchers first noted this dense-thicket creeper in the field in 2001, but only recently did closer lab examination and DNA work distinguish the bird from known Forest Robins -- or the known Forest Robin, as the taxonomy of the genus Stipthrornis is in some dispute.

Hartlieb named the nominate of the genus in 1855, and so things stood until 1996, when specimens of the the Sangha Forest Robin (pictured below) were collected in the Central African Republic's Dzanga-Sangha rain forest in the Congo Basin. These led to DNA work that suggested a division of the traditionally monotypical genus into a total of four species: S. erythrothorax, (Western), S. gabonensis (Gabon), S. sanghornis (Sangha), and S. xanthogaster (Eastern).

Sangha Forest Robin

The Stipthrornis genus of Forest Robins are part of the Old World flycatcher family of Muscicapidae or Chats, though they were once placed in the thrush family Turdidae, where you find our own American Robin and the rest of our true thrushes, the Veery, Hermit, Wood, Swainson's &c.

Anyway, whoever you are, Welcome, new guy.

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