Recently, a team of ornithologists from different countries managed to identify three new species of the bird genus Scytalopus from the Peruvian Andes.
Scientists Discover Three New Bird Species
In a new study, a team of international ornithologists led by Dr. Niels Krabbe, an ornithologist in the Natural History Museum of Denmark at the University of Copenhagen, revised the taxonomy of Scytalopus tapaculos, a bird family from the Peruvian Andes.
“We employ an integrated framework using a combination of vocal information, mitochondrial DNA sequences, and appearance, gathered from our own fieldwork over the past 40 years and supplemented with community-shared birdsong archives and museum specimens,” they explained.
Because of this, the researchers were able to identify three species that are previously unknown, named the Jalca tapaculo, the Ampay tapaculo, and, lastly, the white-winged tapaculo, all of which are endemic to the country of Peru.
Per the team, the Jalca tapaculo is known from two geographically separate populations, with the northern population found in three areas in Huanuco and Pasco, while the southern population inhabits Junin.
“The type locality of this species is on the uppermost slopes of a semi-isolated spur of the humid eastern Andes above stunted treeline forest 5-9 m tall. Above treeline, where the Jalca tapaculo was common, dense bunchgrass and scattered shrubs occurred on steep rocky slopes; flatter areas were heavily grazed by cattle and sheep and were strewn with boulders,” the researchers said.
The Ampay tapaculo, on the other hand, can be found in eastern Ayacucho and in Apurimac, between the Rio Apurimac and Rio Pampas. Lastly, the white-winged tapaculo can be found in five localities in three widely separated areas in the Central Andes of north-central Peru.
A genus of small passerine birds that come from the Rhinocryptidae (tapaculos) family, the Scytalopus usually inhabit the mountains and foothills of both Central America and the Atlantic Forest. However, they’re at their most diverse in the Andes. All of the species are also poor fliers and, as such, often skulk in dense vegetation and reluctant in crossing large habitat gaps. They also prefer shrubby alpine and forest understory habitats, making them an unusually poor species when it comes to dispersing their population widely.