Colorful new bird discovered in
LAUREN DAKE Associated Press
species was found in a remote forest
in the Andes.
BOGOTA, Colombia -- A colorful new
bird has been discovered in a
previously unexplored Andean cloud
forest, spurring efforts to protect
the area, conservation groups said
The bright yellow and red-crowned
Yariguies brush-finch was named for
the indigenous tribe that once
inhabited the mountainous area where
it was discovered.
For conservationists the discovery
of the species came at a crucial
time -- the government has decided
to set aside 500 acres of the
pristine cloud forest where the bird
lives to create a national park.
"The bird was discovered in what is
the last remnants of cloud forest in
that region," Camila Gomez, of the
Colombia conservation group
Pro-Aves, said on Monday. "There are
still lots of undiscovered flora and
fauna species that live in the
small bird can be distinguished from
its closest relative -- the
yellow-breasted brush finch -- by
its solid black back and the lack of
white marks on its wings.
"There are about two to three new
birds found in the world every
year," Thomas Donegan, the British
half of an Anglo-Colombian research
duo who discovered the bird in
January 2004, told The Associated
Press on Monday. "It's a very rare
access the bird's isolated habitat,
Donegan and partner Blanca Huertas
regularly hiked 12 hours into the
nearly impenetrable jungle,
depending on helicopters to drop off
supplies at mountain peaks 10,000
feet above sea level.
first went to Yariguies about three
years ago," Donegan said. "It's a
huge patch of isolated forest that
no one knew about, not even in
new finch, the size of a fist, is
native to Colombia's eastern Andean
range and considered by its
discoverers to be near threatened
and in need of close monitoring to
prevent it from becoming endangered.
of the two birds caught by the team
was released unharmed after they
took pictures and DNA samples, while
the other died in captivity.
Donegan said this was one of the
first time researchers were able to
confirm a new bird without having to
The last new bird discovery in
Colombia was a Tapaculos species
found in the south last year.
With as many as 1,865 different
species, Colombia has long been
considered a bird watchers'
paradise, albeit a risky one because
of the country's four-decade-old
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