NEW DELHI – A new bird species has been found in India, the first time such a discovery has been made here in more than 50 years, an astronomer and keen bird watcher said Tuesday.
The multicolored bird, Bugun liocichla, was spotted in May in the remote Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in India's northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh near the border with China, said Ramana Athreya, a member of Mumbai's Natural History Society.
Athreya, who found the bird, named it after the Bugun tribe, which lives in the area. The bird has a black cap, a bright yellow patch around the eyes and yellow, crimson, black and white patches on the wings, he told The Associated Press.
Birdlife International, a global alliance of conservation organizations, described it on its Web site Tuesday as "the most sensational ornithological discovery in India for more than half a century."
Athreya caught two of the species, but released them after making detailed notes and taking photographs — and keeping feathers that had worked loose in his net.
"We thought the bird was just too rare for one to be killed," Athreya said.
"With today's modern technology, we could gather all the information we needed to confirm it as a new species. We took feathers and photographs and recorded the bird's songs," he said.
Though the bird was discovered in May, the news was kept under wraps until it was confirmed that it was a new species.
Athreya said he had first briefly spotted the bird in 1995. "But it was only this year I had a sufficiently good look that we could move into the matter."