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New species of bird Muscicapa flycatcher named after Indian ornithologist Navjot Sodhi

Nov 26, 2014 18:10 IST

New species of bird Muscicapa flycatcher was named after an Indian ornithologist Navjot Sodhi. The bird found in Sulawesi Island of Indonesia was named as Muscicapa sodhii.

This was revealed by a study titled A New Species of Muscicapa Flycatcher from Sulawesi, Indonesia published in the Journal PLOS ONE on 24 November 2014. The co-author of the study was J Berton C Harris, a post-doctoral fellow at Princeton University.

The team led by Harris decided to name the bird as Muscicapa sodhii to pay homage to late ecologist and ornithologist Navjot Sodhi, who was Harris' former mentor and a professor at the National University of Singapore.

Several animal species also have been named after Sodhi, including a snail, a fish and a new genus and species of crab. The naming of so many species in honour of Sodhi shows how important he was to his students and collaborators.

About Muscicapa sodhii
The bird was first discovered in 1997 in Sulawesi Island of Indonesia. The bird is mottled throat and has short wings. It has a more strongly hooked bill and a shorter tail. The species is markedly different from other flycatchers in its plumage (feathers), body structure, song and genetics.

At that time, the Sulawesi birds were thought to be migratory boreal-breeding gray-streaked flycatchers Muscicapa griseisticta. However, the new species differs strongly from M. griseisticta in several morphological characters, song, and mtDNA.

Based on mtDNA, the new species is only distantly related to M. griseisticta, instead being a member of the M. dauurica clade.

The new species is evidently widely distributed in lowland and sub-montane forest throughout Sulawesi. This wide distribution coupled with the species' apparent tolerance of disturbed habitats suggests it is not currently threatened with extinction.

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