New songbird found in mountains of Arunachal Pradesh, say experts | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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New songbird found in mountains of Arunachal Pradesh, say experts

By, Guwahati
Dec 10, 2022 02:04 AM IST

When the team reached the peak of the mountain in the north-eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh, they found a bird which looked similar to the Grey-bellied Wren Babbler, but didn’t sound like one, the team members said.

A six-member team of birdwatchers has said that they have discovered a new species of Wren Babbler during an expedition to Arunachal Pradesh.

The team took pictures of the bird and compared it with the existing images of Wren Babblers.(Twitter/@PemaKhanduBJP)
The team took pictures of the bird and compared it with the existing images of Wren Babblers.(Twitter/@PemaKhanduBJP)

The team that consisted of birdwatchers from Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram and two guides from Arunachal Pradesh set out in March this year to climb the Mugaphi peak in search of the rare Grey-bellied Wren Babbler, they said. The Grey-bellied Wren Babbler is mostly found in Myanmar, with some sightings reported in adjoining China and Thailand. There has been only one reported spotting of the bird in India back in 1998 and at the same mountain.

When the team reached the peak of the mountain in the north-eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh, they found a bird which looked similar to the Grey-bellied Wren Babbler, but didn’t sound like one, the team members said.

“All the birds we found had a sweet song that was similar to the songs of the Naga Wren Babbler; and quite unlike the trilling song of the Grey-bellied Wren Babbler,” said Praveen J, one of the members of the expedition.

The team took pictures of the bird and compared it with the existing images of Wren Babblers.

“As the name indicates, the ground colour of the belly of Grey-bellied Wren Babbler is grey. However, all the photos we got showed birds with a whitish belly. Surprisingly, the single Smithsonian specimen from these mountains also had a whitish belly,” said Dipu Karuthedathu, another member of the expedition.

The team has named the bird they found Lisu Wren Babbler, after the Lisu community of the state.

Their findings were recently published by Indian BIRDS, a peer-reviewed journal of south Asian ornithology. The genetic material from the bird that was found will now need to be compared with other Wren Babbler species to scientifically establish that a new species or subspecies has been found.

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