Nature & Environment
15 new bird species found in the Amazon
By T.K. Randall
June 7, 2013 · 8 comments
Image Credit: Fernando S. Aldado
The Amazon rainforest has yielded a treasure trove of 15 species of previously undiscovered birds.
The vast swaths of South American rainforest are well known for being home to a large and diverse collection of animals, birds and plants. The latest discoveries represent the single largest haul of new bird species since 1871 when 40 were found by Austrian researcher August von Pelzeln. They were found over the course of several expeditions which included ornithologist Luis Silveira and his students from the University of São Paulo.
"Describing new species is not a trivial task," said Silveira. "We considered a bird as a new species when at least two of the three criteria - plumage, voice, and genetics - were consistently different from some previously known and closely related, already described species."
Discovered mostly within the last five years, in southern swaths of forest, many of the birds live near rivers. Eleven can only be found in Brazil; four of the species have also been seen in Peru and Bolivia. Most are Passeriformes, belonging to an order that includes ravens, sparrows, and finches.
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