A Brand New Bird Has Just Been Discovered in North East India. Here’s All You Need to Know about It

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R esearchers have discovered a new species of bird in northeastern India and have named it after renowned Indian ornithologist Salim Ali. The Himalayan Forest Thrush, till recently, had been mistaken for the Plain-backed Thrush (now called Alpine Thrush), because of the similarity in appearance.

The Himalayan Forest Thrush, scientifically named as Zoothera salimalii, is only the fourth species of bird discovered in India since independence.

Himalayan Forest Thrush (Photo Credit: Craig Brelsford)

Commenting on the development, Dr. Asad Rahmani, Senior Scientific Adviser and former Director, Bombay Natural History Society (BHNS)  said, “It is a remarkable discovery and shows how much more we have to do in the field of ornithology in India. It also proves that northeastern India is a treasure trove of biodiversity that needs protection from the mega projects that are planned in Arunachal Pradesh, without giving any attention to biodiversity conservation.”

Here’s how the discovery took place

Dr. Per Alstrom, Department of Animal Ecology Uppsala University, Sweden, and Shashank Dalvi, Wildlife Biology and Conservation WCS-India Programme, National Centre of Biological Sciences, Bengaluru, discovered the species when they were studying birds at different elevations in western Arunachal Pradesh in 2009.

What first caught the attention of the scientists was that the ones found in forests (Himalayan Forest Thrush) had a rather musical song.

Shashank Dalvi_02_Valley, (Photo Vishnupriya S)

Researcher Shashank Dalvi (Photo Credit: Vishnupriya S.)

Researcher Per Alstrom (Photo Credit: Zhao Chao)

They also realised the ones found in rocky habitats (Alpine Thrush) had a much harsher, scratchier, and unmusical song.

After years of detailed study, a team of researchers from India, Sweden, China, US and Russia concluded that the Himalayan Forest Thrush and the Alpine Thursh have bred separately for several years now.

According to BHNS, the bird has been named after Dr. Ali  in recognition of his huge contributions to the development of modern Indian ornithology and wildlife conservation.

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