Olive-backed Forest Robin
A new species of bird has been discovered in Gabon, Africa.
The olive-backed forest robin (stiphrornis pyrrholaemus) was previously unknown to the scientific community. The scientists named this bird for its distinctive olive back and rump. It was first observed in 2001 but was thought to be a younger version of a species already recognized.
Scientists did a closer study of the bird and found differences in color and plumage compared to other forest robins.
Brian Schmidt, a research ornithologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, said, “I suspected something when I found the first bird in Gabon since it didn’t exactly match any of the species descriptions in the field guides. Once I was able to compare them side by side to other specimens in our collections it was clear that these birds were special. You, of course, have to be cautious, but I was still very excited at the prospect of possibly having found a new species of bird.”
To insure that this was indeed a new species, scientists compared the DNA of the new species to that of the four known species of forest robin. The results clearly showed that this was a separate species.
The olive-backed forest robin brings the number of known bird species to 753. So far, little is known about this new bird.
“This discovery is very exciting for us,” said Alfonso Alonso, who directs the Biodiversity Program in Gabon. “Finding the olive-backed forest robin strongly underscores the importance of our research. This helps us show the conservation importance of the area.”