New bird species discovery in Colombia

This video from Colombia is called Endemic Tatamá Tapaculo – Scytalopus alvarezlopezi – Apia, W Andes.

From Sci-News:

Tatama Tapaculo: New Bird Species Discovered in Colombia

Mar 20, 2017 by Sergio Prostak

A new species of tapaculo — called the Tatama tapaculo (Scytalopus alvarezlopezi) — has been discovered in the cloud forests of Colombia’s Western Andes.

The Tatama tapaculo was first spotted in June 1992 in Colombia’s Risaralda department by Dr. F. Gary Stiles, an ornithologist at the Institute of Natural Sciences at the National University of Colombia.

Now studies of the bird’s vocalizations and DNA have confirmed it to be a unique species.

The discovery is outlined in the April 2017 issue of The Auk, the official publication of the American Ornithologists’ Union.

“We take pleasure in naming this species in honor of Humberto Alvarez-Lopez, the ‘dean of Colombian Ornithology,’ for his many contributions to the knowledge and study of this country’s birds over nearly half a century,” Dr. Stiles and co-authors said.

“We suggest the English name of the Tatama tapaculo for Scytalopus alvarezlopezi because the majority of localities for this species are in the middle sector of the Western Andes near the border between Risaralda and Choco Departments, in which the most prominent and best-known mountain is Cerro Tatama.”

The tapaculos, a group of passerine birds in the family Rhinocryptidae, are small to medium-sized birds, with a total length between 10 and 23 cm and a weight between 10 and 185 grams.

They have short, broadly rounded wings, straight bill, longish legs, strong feet for scratching in the earth; most with short tail.

Most species are reddish brown or gray, with spots or bars; those of woodlands are darker than those of open scrub country.

The Tatama tapaculo is a medium-sized, blackish tapaculo.

“Males are black above, the rump slightly tinged dark brown; dark grayish-black below; the posterior flanks, extreme lower abdomen, and crissum are broadly and slightly indistinctly barred black and dark rufous; the primaries and tail are dark brownish-black,” the researchers said.

“Female and juvenile plumages are presently unrecorded.”

The new species forms part of a distinctive clade of Scytalopus tapaculos that also includes the Stiles’s tapaculo (S. stilesi) and the Magdalena tapaculo (S. rodriguezi), which occur on the Central and Eastern Andes of Colombia, and the Ecuadorian tapaculo (S. robbinsi) from Ecuador.

The bird is easily diagnosable from its near relatives by its song and mitochondrial DNA; differences in plumage exist but are more subtle.

It inhabits dense understory vegetation on the floors and lower slopes of ravines in cloud forest at elevations of 1,300 to 2,100 m.

Dr. Stiles and his colleagues — Dr. Oscar Laverde-R. of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and Dr. Carlos Daniel Cadena of the Universidad de Los Andes — believe that the Tatama tapaculo is not threatened at present, but could be potentially vulnerable due to its restricted distribution.

“At present, we would consider the Tatama tapaculo to be ‘Nearthreatened’ or at most, ‘Vulnerable,’ because of its limited distribution and restriction to intact forest, but because its habitat — at least in the Tatama region — is fairly continuous and for the most part not threatened, and because it is locally common to abundant, we see no reason to raise any higher red flags,” they explained.

“However, because of the potential effects of climate change, its abundance and elevation range should be monitored into the future.”

Young people in Colombia are suing their government in order to protect the Amazon rainforest: here.

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