New species of flycatcher described 15 years after its discovery

24 11 2014

Our description of a new species of bird, the Sulawesi Streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa sodhii was just published in PLOS ONE. The species, which is known only from Sulawesi, Indonesia, was discovered in 1997 by Ben King and colleagues. Since then it has been observed at several sites on Sulawesi but it has received no formal study. Our research team, involving Michigan State University, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, and several other universities collected the first specimens of the species and made the first audio recordings of its song. We then compared its plumage, structure, voice, and genetics to similar flycatchers and found that it is certainly a new species. Its plumage is most similar to the Gray-streaked Flycatcher but its structure and genetics are closest to the Asian Brown Flycatcher. We named the species after my late Ph.D. supervisor Navjot Sodhi. Navjot uncovered the effects of deforestation on Southeast Asian birds and was an outstanding mentor to me and to Ding Li Yong, a co-author of the paper.

Here is some of the media coverage of our paper:

National Public Radio

Wall Street Journal

Washington Post

Audubon Magazine

Dan di Bahasa Indonesia!

Mongabay (Bahasa Indonesia)

Wall Street Journal (Bahasa Indonesia)

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