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'Bald' bird Asia's first songbird in 100 years: conservationists

A "bald" bird discovered in Laos is Asia's first new species of bulbul bulbul, in zoology, bird
bulbul (bl`b
, or songbird songbird

Any oscine passerine (suborder Passere), all of which have a complex vocal organ, the syrinx. Some species (e.g., thrushes) produce melodious songs; others (e.g., crows) have a harsh voice; and some do little or no singing. See also birdsong.
, in more than 100 years, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS See Windows CardSpace. ) said Thursday.

Scientists from the Society, as well as the University of Melbourne
  • AsiaWeek is now discontinued.

In 2006, Times Higher Education Supplement ranked the University of Melbourne 22nd in the world. Because of the drop in ranking, University of Melbourne is currently behind four Asian universities - Beijing University,
, identified the bird, which has "a bald head", WCS said in a news release.

They reported their findings in the July issue of Forktail Fork´tail`

n. 1. (Zool.) One of several Asiatic and East Indian passerine birds, belonging to Enucurus, and allied genera. The tail is deeply forked.
, the scientific journal of the Oriental Bird Club The Oriental Bird Club is a British-based club which exists to advance ornithology in the Oriental zoogeographical region.

It publishes the journal Forktail.

In addition, it published a checklist of the birds of the region in 1996.
, a United Kingdom charity.

"This paper describes for the first time in over 100 years a new Asian species of bulbul," the scientists wrote of their discovery late last year in an area of limestone karsts in Laos's Savannakhet province.

The bird, named the Bare-faced Bulbul, is not completely bald but has a narrow line of hair-like feathers down the centre of its crown. It also has a distinctive featherless, pink face with bluish skin around the eye extending to the bill, said the Society, which manages urban wildlife parks including the Bronx Zoo in New York.

"Its apparent restriction to rather inhospitable habitat helps to explain why such an extraordinary bird with conspicuous habits and a distinctive call has remained unnoticed for so long," said Iain Woxvold, the University of Melbourne scientist who was part of the team that made the discovery.

Limestone karsts remain among the least studied ecosystems in Southeast Asia, he and the other scientists wrote in their journal article.
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Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Jul 29, 2009
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