A new bird for science has been discovered on Serranía de los Yariguíes range, beside the Cerulean Warbler Bird Reserve in Colombia. It has been named “Yariguíes Brush-Finch”, with the scientific name Atlapetes latinuchus yariguierum. It was described by an Anglo-Colombian team of biologists from Fundación ProAves including Thomas Donegan and Blanca Huertas, following their leadership of the first biological exploration of the Yariguíes mountains. The description was published last week in the prestigious scientific journal Bulletin of the British Ornithologists Club (Vol. 126: June 2006).
“Gorrión-montes de los Yariguíes”
Atlapetes latinuchus yariguierum
Atlapetes latinuchus yariguierum
The new bird is named for the Yariguíes indigenous people who formerly inhabited the mountain range where the bird was found. The new bird is a large and colorful finch with black, yellow and red plumage. It differs from its closest relatives in having a black back and no white markings in its wings. It is also found in other nearby mountains in Colombia’s Eastern Andean range. Genetic, morphological and vocal studies have confirmed its identity as a new taxon.
In order to survey the highest parts of the Yariguíes mountains where the Yariguíes Brush-Finch was found, the researchers and their equipment were dropped by helicopter on to an isolated peak at over 10,000 ft. above sea level. This comprised the first human access to the highest elevations of this 100 km long mountain range.
This description is noteworthy in that one of the two birds caught by the team and used in the description as a type specimen was released unharmed, a DNA sample and photographs having been taken. This is the first time that a live type specimen has been used for the description of a new bird following the approval by the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature of such techniques last year.
Donegan commented: “Before we began this study, no-one knew what species lived in the Yariguíes mountains and whether they needed protecting. It is surprising that this new brush-finch and the forests of the Yariguíes mountains could remain unstudied, undescribed and unprotected for so long.”
T.Donegan & B.Huertas
Descriptores de la nueva especie
Blanca Huertas, presently with The Natural History Museum in London said: “The description of a new bird is a rare event in modern times. However, this is just the first of several new species that we will be describing from the Yariguíes mountains, including several new taxa of butterflies.”
The biological results from these expeditions by Fundación ProAves has been essential in establishing the Cerulean Warbler Bird Reserve in 2005, and recently creating the Serranía de los Yariguíes National Park by the Colombian government.
Trabajo con la Comunidad
Socialización del Proyecto
The new bird was discovered on EBA Project and YARÉ Project expeditions to Serranía de los Yariguíes. These initiatives were supported by Fundación ProAves, Royal Geographical Society, BP Conservation Programme (BirdLife International, Conservation International, Flora Fauna International, Wildlife Conservation Society), Duke of Edinburgh, Fondo para Acción Ambiental, Fundación Omacha, Conservation International Colombia (Becas Iniciativa de Especies Amenazadas-Jorge Ignacio “El Mono” Hernández-Camacho), the Percy Sladen Memorial Fund (Linnean Society), Rio Tinto plc, Tropical Andean Butterfly Diversity Project, Game Conservancy Trust, World Pheasant Association, Corporación Autónoma Regional de Santander, Mayoralties of San Vicente de Chucurí, Galan and El Carmen, Universidad Industrial de Santander, Universidad de Caldas, Universidad de Tolima and Gobernación de Santander. Other expedition participants included: Colombian and British biologists and students Elkin Briceño, Jorge Avendaño, John Jairo Arias, Cristóbal Ríos, Laura Rosado, Diana Villanueva, Diana Montealegre, Martin Donegan and local guide José Pinto.
Contact details for further information:
Thomas Donegan y Blanca Huertas
Photo: Atlapetes latinuchus yariguierum: a new Brush-Finch discovered in Colombia.
Photo: Thomas Donegan, Blanca Huertas and the new Brush-Finch Photograph © Proyecto YARE.
Article in Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club with the description of the new bird
EBA Project report for Serranía de los Yariguíes PDF
YARE Project report for Serranía de los Yariguíes PDF
A new brush-finch in the Atlapetes latinuchus complex from the Yariguíes Mountains and adjacent Eastern Andes of Colombia. PDF