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Associated Press
A male Cambodian tailorbird, which scientists say is a new bird species unique to Cambodia discovered in Phnom Penh, is seen in an undated photo provided by the Wildlife Conservation Society.

New bird species discovered, in busy city

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – A previously unknown species of bird has been discovered in Cambodia, not in some remote jungle but in the country’s capital, researchers announced Wednesday.

The New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society said a team of its scientists, working with other groups including BirdLife International, discovered the wren-sized Cambodian tailorbird living in dense, humid lowland scrub in Phnom Penh and other locations just outside the city.

The statement described the bird as gray in color with a brownish-red cap and black throat. It said only one other bird species is unique to Cambodia, the Cambodian laughingthrush, found only in the remote Cardamom mountain range.

The discovery of the bird, also known as Orthotomus chaktomuk, was announced in a special online edition of the Oriental Bird Club’s journal Forktail, the statement said.

“Finding any new bird species is special, but to find one so close to my home and the homes of millions of people is particularly special,” said Simon Mahood of the Wildlife Conservation Society, who with a colleague investigated the discovery. “The bird is probably not rare, although its habitat is threatened. In the places where it can be found it is abundant.”

However, the Forktail article says the bird’s natural habitat is shrinking and it should be considered slightly endangered.

“Asia contains a spectacular concentration of bird life, but is also under sharply increasing threats ranging from large-scale development projects to illegal hunting,” the statement quoted WCS bird conservation coordinator Steve Zack saying. “Further work is needed to better understand the distribution and ecology of this exciting newly described species to determine its conservation needs.”

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