What’s New In Taliabu?


James Eaton/Birdtour Asia

Thanks to Karen Weintraub for sharing the rare story that our bird-oriented readers will appreciate as breaking news:

Trove of New Bird Species Found on Remote Indonesian Islands

Researchers found 10 new species and subspecies of songbirds off the coast of Sulawesi, with distinct songs and genetics from known birds.


A Togian jungle-flycatcher, one of several new bird species found in the Wallacean islands off Indonesia’s east coast. James Eaton/Birdtour Asia

One day in 2009, Frank Rheindt was wandering up a forested mountainside on an Indonesian island when the skies opened up. He had spent months planning this trip, days finding a charter boat that would carry him to this remote place, and hours plodding uphill, but the local tour guides insisted that the rain would make the search impossible.

Reluctantly, Dr. Rheindt agreed to head to lower ground.

But on the way down, even with the deluge, he was startled by the sight of a thrush sitting on a log. Dr. Rheindt, an ornithologist, knew that a thrush shouldn’t have been on that island, and that the species normally would seek shelter from the rain.

A little farther along, he heard the distinctive call of a grasshopper warbler, an endangered bird that’s normally hard to spot. “I could tell from the sound that it was a grasshopper warbler, but different than I was used to,” he said. “That’s when I knew I was going to come up again.”

On his second ascent a few days later, Dr. Rheindt, an associate professor at the National University of Singapore, saw little besides the devastation from a forest fire a few years earlier. But on his third mile-high climb, he found what he had struggled so long and hard to track: birds that no scientist had ever before recorded…

Read the whole story here.

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