A team of international scientists have discovered a new species of bird in the Northeast India and adjacent parts of China. It’s named The Himalayan forest thrush Zoothera salimalii, and has a distinguished, melodious voice, The LiveMint reported.

This is what the bird looks like:


The bird has no scientific name yet, and was named Zoothera Salimalii in order to honour Indian ornithologist Salim Ali’s contributions to India’s nature conservation.

Interestingly, the discovery began in 2009 after the scientists – a team from India, Sweden, China, the US and Russia – realised that what they thought was a single species (the plain-backed thrush Zoothera mollissima) was in fact two different species. How? It was after they heard a very musical song from a bird in the area, which was in sharp contrast to a much harsher, scratchier, unmusical song from the known species.

The bird was discovered by Per Alstrom from Sweden-based Uppsala University and Shashank Dalvi, from Bengaluru-based National Centre of Biological Sciences.

“I was in Arunachal Pradesh with an Indian colleague, Shashank Dalvi, and we noted that there were two different groups of what was previously called the plain-backed thrush, that occurred at different elevations, in different habitats. One set of birds, found above the tree line, sang quite a harsh, scratchy-sounding song; the other, found in the forests just below, was more tuneful. They had -to us – incredibly different songs. We couldn’t at first find any differences in plumage or structure between them. But we didn’t actually see the forest one very well, because it was extremely elusive – extremely hard to see,” said Prof Alstrom of Uppsala University in Sweden as mentioned in a BBC report. 

The team then recorded the birdsong from different places along with DNA samples.

Interestingly, the bird is only the fourth new bird species to be described in India since 1947, and first in almost a decade. While two others were found in Arunachal Pradesh, one was found in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The last new species to be discovered was the Bugun Liocichla in 2006 in Arunachal Pradesh, Livemint said.

(Feature image from Avian Research)