New bird species found in Cambodian city of 1.5 million people

June 26, 2013 at 3:27 PM
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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, June 26 (UPI) -- An international team of scientists says it discovered a new species of bird living in a city of 1.5 million people in Cambodia.

Dubbed the Cambodian tailorbird, the species with distinct plumage and a loud call was discovered in Cambodia's urbanized capitol Phnom Penh and several other locations just outside the city including a construction site, the Wildlife Conservation Society reported Wednesday.

The wren-sized gray bird with a black throat lives in dense, humid lowland scrub in Phnom Penh in an area where the Tonle Sap, Mekong and Bassac Rivers come together, scientists said.

Only tiny fragments of such scrub remain in Phnom Penh, they said, urging the species be classified as Near Threatened under the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List.

"The modern discovery of an undescribed bird species within the limits of a large populous city -- not to mention 30 minutes from my home -- is extraordinary," WCS scientist Simon Mahood said. "The discovery indicates that new species of birds may still be found in familiar and unexpected locations."

Recent decades have seen a sharp increase in the number of new bird species emerging from Indochina as explorations move into ever more remote areas, the researchers said.

"This discovery is one of several from Indochina in recent years, underscoring the region's global importance for bird conservation," Colin Poole, director of WCS Singapore, said.

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