New bird species in the Peruvian Amazon

A new species of bird was discovered in the mountainous zone of the Amazon region in South America. It is the third described in the last two years, the Anthill of the blue mountain range (Myrmoderus eowilsoni) joins the Scarlet Stripe Barbudo (Capito wallacei) described in 2000, and El Saltarín Painted (Machaeropterus eckelberryi).

The National Service of Natural Protected Areas by the State of Peru (SERNANP for its acronym in Spanish) confirms that through a field investigation, the bird watcher Josh Beck recorded the song of the "Antillean Mountain Range" in the vicinity of the Platafoma farmhouse in the mountains. The recording took place between the Biabo River and the Ponasillo River between 1,340 and 1,670 MSNM, in a mountain range located just nine kilometers from the protected area known as Cordillera Azul (Blue Mountain Range) National Park according to the scientific article published in BioOne.

The worry that exists in the scientific community consists on the advance of deforestation and the expansion of the agricultural frontier for the cultivation of coffee, which threatens the natural habitat of this and other species.

The bird-watching company Field Guides, formed by Dan Lane, Fernando Angulo, Jesse Fagan, and Andre Moncrieff, began the search and documentation of the bird, after the identification of its song along with scientists from the Museum of Natural Sciences of the University of Louisiana.

For the director of the SINCHI, scientific research institute of the Amazon region, Luz Marina Mantilla, the possibilities for this type of new records for science to continue is "very high, because there are areas where we are entering so far, due to external circumstances to the will of scientists and researchers, previously you could not enter these territories".

And she gives the example of Colombia, where "in the park Belén de los Andaquíes, only in that altitudinal gradient, we have found 47 new species for science, this is also because the portion of Colombia is the least explored region of the great Amazonia".

"Colombia has only 6.4% of the total of the Amazon region, but additionally it is one of the four countries in which the Amazon is born, along with Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, so it is very rosy that as long as we can continue exploring each territory, new species that force us to work for the protection and conservation not only of the newly discovered species, as well of all those present in the different ecosystems present in the region", added the scientist.

For the biologist and ornithologist Oswaldo Cortez, birding companion of Josh Beck "the discovery of this bird was made by an amateur observer who has been touring a large part of South America, who recorded the sound and being unknown to him, reproduced afterwards the singing, finding a potential new species for science, put it in the knowledge of a scientific team that could confirm through deeper analysis that this anthill was indeed unpublished".

"New discovered species, even more, if they are endemic, generates higher values of conservation objects, greater responsibility of an area of protected by preserving that unique unit of species for the Amazon," adds the ornithologist.

The study categorically states that it is a new species with absolute security "molecular evidence distinguishes this species from its brother taxon Myrmoderus ferrugineus (Hormiguero Lomirrufo), which is found in the Amazonian tropical forests of the Guyanese Shield and the Madeira-Tapajós interfluvium ".

Without a doubt, the greater the efforts and resources invested in scientific exploration, the greater the findings for science will be in the near future in the great Amazon region.

LatinAmerican Post | Alberto Castaño

Copy edited by Marcela Peñaloza