New Bird Species Discovered in 'Cloud Forest' of Peru
A colorful fruit eating bird with a black mask, pale belly and scarlet breast something that has never been described by science has been discovered by Cornell graduates following an expedition in the remote Peruvian Andes. Now described in the scientific journal,The Auk, the bird has been dubbed the Sira barbet (Capito fitzpatricki).
This new species was captured during the 2008 expedition led by Michael G. Harvey, Glenn Seeholzer and Ben Winger, young ornithologists who had recently graduated from Cornell at the time. They were accompanied by co-author Daniel Caceres, a graduate of the Universidad Nacional de San Agustin in Arequipa, Peru, and local Asheninka guides.
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Barbet was discovered on a ridge of the montane cloud forest in the Cerros del Sira range in the eastern andes. Scientists predict that steep ridges and deep river gorges in the Andes produce many isolated habitats and microclimates that give rise to uniquely evolved species.
Though clearly a sister species of the Scarlet-banded Barbet, the Sira Barbet is readily distinguished by differences in color on the bird's flanks, lower back, and thighs and a wider, darker scarlet breast band.
By comparing mitochondrial DNA sequences of the new barbet to DNA sequences of its close relatives in the genus Capito, the team secured genetic evidence that this is indeed a new species in the barbet family (Capitonidae).
The scientists named the species after John W. Fitzpatrick, the head of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.