New Himalayan Species of Bird Discovered in India and China

First Posted: Jan 21, 2016 10:45 AM EST

Scientists have discovered a new species of bird in India and China. Researchers have described the Himalayan Forest Thrush after they took a closer look at the small bird.

The bird's scientific name is Zoothera salimalii, which recognizes the Indian ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali. The bird itself was first found when researchers realized that the Plain-backed Thrush wasn't one species, but two. This newly discovered second species then became the Himalayan Forest Thrush.

The researchers first realized that one species was two when they realized Plain-backed Thrushes in the coniferous and mixed forest had a musical song, while birds on bare, rocky ground in the same area had a much harsher and scratchier song.

With further analysis, the researchers found consistent differences in the plumage, structure, song, DNA and ecology of the two types of birds. This made the scientists realize that they weren't dealing with one species of bird, but two.

The Himalayan Forest Thrush is locally common. However, it's been overlooked until now due to its similarities to the other bird.

The findings reveal that birds are still out there, waiting to be discovered as new species. These findings, though, are relatively rare; the new species is only the fourth new bird species described in India since the country achieved its independence in 1947.

The findings are published in the journal Avian Research.

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