[China] New babbler bird species found in China; other discoveries possible

New babbler bird species found in China; other discoveries possible

USA Today   Posted 1/29/2009

New babbler bird species found in China; other discoveries possible

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — A new species of the fist-sized babbler bird has been found in a network of underground caves in southwestern China, raising the prospect the country could become a hot spot for other new discoveries, a conservation group said Thursday.
Ornithologists Zhou Fang and Jiang Aiwu first spotted the dark brown bird with white specks on its chest in 2005 and have since confirmed its identity as an undescribed species. They named it the Nonggang babbler, or Stachyris nonggangensis, for the region in China where it was found.

A formal description was published last year in The Auk, which is the quarterly journal of the Virginia-based American Ornithologists' Union.

"This is exciting evidence that there could be many more interesting discoveries awaiting ornithologists in China," said Birdlife International's Nigel Collar, which announced the discovery.

The new species resembles a wren-babbler in that it prefers running to flying, and seems to spend most of its time on the ground foraging for insects, Zhou said. About 100 Nonggang babblers have been identified so far in the Nonggang Natural Reserve in southwestern China...



This is a very exciting discovery- a new species in China!

I have a little more information

The surveyor who found it, Jiang Aiwu, was working on a Kadoorie Farm Scholarship at the time

A few Hong Kong birders have seen this bird already. I went with Richard Lewthwaite and Ruy and Karen Barretto in November 2006 and had three birds at very close range. However, we did not share this information because the discovery had not been formally announced and it would have been inappropriate to dcalre we had seen it before even the finder of the bird.
Photos of the bird are availabe on the Oriental Bird Images website.

Nonggang is an interesting reserve and hold some great birds, including White-winged Magpie, Sultan Tit, Indochinese Green Magpie, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Silver Pheasant, Red Junglefowl.

Mike K
Mike KilburnVice Chairman, HKBWSChairman, Conservation Committee