Trinity zoologists discover unique species of bird

Wednesday 04 June 2014 22.37
The bird has been named the Wakatobi Flowerpecker
The bird has been named the Wakatobi Flowerpecker

A previously unrecognised unique species of bird has been discovered by zoologists at Trinity College Dublin.

The rare discovery was made on a small chain of under-explored islands in Indonesia.

The bird has been named the Wakatobi Flowerpecker.

Scientists from the Zoology department at Trinity College have been collecting data on animal and bird populations in the South east Sulawesi region in Indonesia for years.

But it was recent laboratory based analysis of the fauna from the biodiversity hotspot that led to a remarkable discovery.

Genetic data of a small red breasted bird found on the Wakatobi group of islands in the region, reveals that although it looks much like a Grey-sided Flowerpecker, it is actually genetically distinct.

The data suggests the previously unrecognised birds, which the researchers suggest should be called Wakatobi Flowerpeckers, have never crossed the 27km of ocean separating them from Grey-sided Flowerpeckers and interbred with them.

Only a handful of new species of animals and birds are discovered each year, making this find extra special.

The scientists say further research is needed in the threatened area to establish if there are more unrecognised species there.