New bird species discovered in rainforest of Gabon
August 23, 2008
The species, the olive-backed forest robin (Stiphrornis pyrrholaemus), was first observed by Smithsonian scientists in 2001 during a field expedition in southwest Gabon. At the time it was believed to be an immature individual of an already-recognized species but subsequent research showed the bird differed in coloration from known forest robins. Genetic analysis confirmed the bird was indeed an undescribed species, becoming the 753rd bird species documented in Gabon. Little else is known about the species, but some researchers are nonetheless enthusiastic about the find.
A male specimen of the newly-discovered olive-backed forest robin is examined in the hand of Brian Schmidt, the Smithsonian ornithologist who discovered the species. (Credit: Brian Schmidt)
"Although finding an unknown species like the olive-backed forest robin was not the goal of the MAB project it is definitely a reminder that the world still holds surprises for us," added Brian Schmidt, a research ornithologist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and a member of its Monitoring and Assessment of Biodiversity Program. Schmidt is the lead author of the paper that describes the olive-backed forest robin. The research is published in the August 15, 20008 issue of the journal Zootaxa.
BRIAN K. SCHMIDT, JEFFREY T. FOSTER, GEORGE R. ANGEHR, KATE L. DURRANT, and ROBERT C. FLEISCHER (2008). A new species of African Forest Robin from Gabon (Passeriformes: Muscicapidae: Stiphrornis). Zootaxa 1850: 27–42