Bird Species Found in Philippines
Hrvoje Hranjski, Associated Press Writer
Philippines - Filipino and British wildlife
researchers say they've stumbled upon what
appears to be a new species of flightless bird
found only on the tiny forested island of
Calayan in the northern Philippines.
a May expedition to Calayan, about 320 miles
north of Manila, a team member was walking in
the forest when she saw a small group of
unfamiliar dark brown birds with distinctive
orange-red bills and legs, the British
conservation group BirdLife International said
in a press release Tuesday.
team reported seeing more adult and juvenile
birds on several occasions over the next few
days, the group said, and estimated there are
probably 100-200 pairs in the area. The bird
is locally known as "piding," but
has never been documented, Filipino
conservationist Carl Oliveros told The
its most similar relative, the Okinawa Rail,
the Calayan Rail is "almost certainly
flightless" and may be new to science.
Rails usually have brown plumage and short
wings that allow only brief flight.
find it quiet unusual," Oliveros said.
"Most species have been documented, but
this shows there is still a lot to be revealed
to us. There may be other islands that have
been overlooked by scientists."
Calayan Rail was seen skulking in undergrowth
or out on open trails, sometimes alone,
sometimes in family groups, BirdLife said.
to the statement, although the bird is not
thought to be under immediate threat, the
development of roads on the island of about
8,500 people may lead to new settlements and
result in loss of habitat and the introduction
of predators such as cats and rats.
newly discovered species are nearly always at
risk from human influence, because most are on
islands or mountains, where their ranges are
naturally quite small," BirdLife's Nigel
Collar was quoted as saying.
don't know a lot about the bird,"
Oliveros said. "Flightless birds are the
most vulnerable. Based on a history of
extinction, its future doesn't look that
said the new species' scientific name is
Gallirallus calayanensis, named after Calayan