New “bald” bulbul species discovered in Laos

Bare-face Bulbul by Iain Woxvold/University of MelbourneThis is most bizarre. Not only has a new bird species to science been discovered, but it has a featherless head! Here’s an extract from the press release:

An odd songbird with a bald head living in a rugged region in Laos has been discovered by scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society and University of Melbourne.  Dubbed the “Bare-faced Bulbul” because of the lack of feathers on its face and part of its head, it is the only example of a bald songbird in mainland Asia according to scientists. It is the first new species of bulbul – a family of about 130 species – described in Asia in over 100 years.A description of the new species is published in the July issue of the Oriental Bird Club’s journal Forktail. Authors include Iain Woxvold of the University of Melbourne, along with Wildlife Conservation Society researchers Will Duckworth and Rob Timmins. “It’s always exciting to discover a new species, but this one is especially unique because it is the only bald songbird in Asia,” said Colin Poole, director of Asia programs for the Wildlife Conservation Society. “The discovery also underscores how much there is still to learn from wild places around the world.” [more here]

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