Researchers re-discover ultra rare bird by recognizing its unique whistle

According to the Tech Times, a rare secretive bird species was found in China recently, and it was found the bird through its distinctive call.

This rare species, the Sichuan bush warbler, prefers dense forests full of scrubby vegetation, making it difficult for biologists to study the animals, which have not been seen in decades. Members of the species have been found in five provinces in China, although the unique call has not been matched to a physical bird until now.

Discovery of the new bird species was detailed in the journal Avian Research.

“The Sichuan bush warbler is exceedingly secretive and difficult to spot as its preferred habitat is dense brush and tea plantations. However, it distinguishes itself thanks to its distinctive song that consists of a low-pitched drawn-out buzz, followed by a shorter click, repeated in series,” said Pamela Rasmussen, assistant curator at the Michigan State University Museum.

Genetic analysis of the birds revealed they are closely related to the russet bush warbler, which makes its home in the same regions as the newly recognized species. Biologists believe the two species last shared a common ancestor about 850,000 years before our own time. This finding was made through the study of mitochondrial DNA in the animals. The species was first recognized by an international team of scientists, including researchers from the United States, China, Sweden, Vietnam and the United Kingdom.

Although the bird species is rarely seen, researchers believe the creatures are fairly common in their habitat and are in no immediate danger of extinction. These elusive birds prefer to live at elevations around 7,500 feet above sea level, although when they are close to russets, they tend to seek out lower ground.

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