Ten New Bird Species and Subspecies Found in Indonesia
By Theresa Machemer/Smithsonianmag.com
After a six-week expedition in 2013 and 2014, researchers have now described five new species and five new subspecies of birds in Indonesia. The ten-taxa haul, published today in the journal Science, marks the biggest discovery of new kinds of birds in over a century.
The team, led by ornithologist Frank Rheindt, focused on three small islands. Reviewing previous collection expeditions, Rheindt noticed that the eleven past trips were either brief or limited to the coast. None had ventured far inland or to high elevations, leaving behind an opportunity for discovery, so Rheindt focused his trip on those understudied areas. But rising wildfire risk and logging activity on the islands is already threatening the birds’ habitat.
“Our world needs a new impetus, a renaissance in biodiversity discovery,” Rheindt tells Jason Gregg at Audubon magazine. “We need more of that now because we can only conserve what we know.”
Birds are considered a well-known wing of the map of life, and on average only five or six new bird species have been described each year since 1999. Per Audubon, the team made use of abandoned logging roads to climb 3,600 feet to reach their destinations: the peaks of Taliabu island’s tallest mountains. Read More: