Yellow-breasted Togian jungle-flycatcher (Cyornis omissus omississimus)
“It’s very important to pick deep-sea islands, those are the ones that are likely to have endemic species that are not shared with other landmasses,” said Frank Rheindt, at the National University of Singapore.
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Taliabu leaf-warbler (Phylloscopus emilsalimi)
"Even more encouraging, the islands’ interior highlands hadn’t received much attention from European explorers or naturalists, who instead had focused on the coasts," says Frank Rheindt.
Remote from other mainland areas, these birds probably have never left their habitat. That's why they remained undiscovered until Frank found them.
Researchers hoped to find some new wildlife species during the expedition, but they surely couldn't imagine finding 10 of them.
“We weren’t aware that this was going to be a bonanza of new species and subspecies,” says Rheindt.
Here are the researched islands.
Five new subspecies and five new species of birds were confirmed based on the birds' physical characteristics, DNA, and singing differences. Some of the newly identified birds were among the most visually remarkable like Taliabu Myzomela honeyeater (Myzomela wahe) with his vivid red-orange feathers and Togian jungle-flycatcher (Cyornis omissus omississimus) is a belly bird with feathers in light yellow color and a cup on its head in iridescent blue.
Taliabu grasshopper-warbler (Locustella portenta)
Rheindt’s personal favorite is Taliabu grasshopper-warbler (Locustella portenta). He says this bird is really shy and elusive. As he saw it, he had noticed that the bird was a different color than the other grasshopper-warblers in the area. Its plumages were darker, and the cricket-like song was not the same as the other grasshopper-warblers singing it.
Taliabu Myzomela honeyeater (Myzomela wahe)
New bird species that have been discovered in recent decades are mostly from Peru and Brazil, says Pamela Rasmussen (an ornithologist at Michigan State University in East Lansing). She added that this discovery is very “unusual in the fact that these birds have existed so long without being documented. There are very few places left that are likely to have so many [birds].”
"The cache of new birds is impressive", says Pamela Rasmussen.
There is so much on the planet that we still don't know about and although most of the mysteries that remain are likely in the vast depths of the ocean, the rest of the world will continue to amaze us at every opportunity given. Mother Nature will always have its secrets.
But thanks to curious and persistent people, our knowledge is growing. We learned that our planet is richer for ten new bird species, thanks to Frank and his team of researchers.