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New Bird Species Discovered in Cambodia in Most Unlikely Place

Update Date: Jun 26, 2013 10:33 PM EDT

A new species of bird that has never been seen before have been discovered in Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh.

The discovery of the Cambodian tailorbird, or orthotomus chaktomuk as it has been named, was first spotted in 2009 during routine checks for avian flu. The new bird is one of only two species endemic to Cambodia, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the group whose researcher Ashish John snapped the first pictures of the bird.

More specimens have since been found in regions around the city and discerned from similar tailorbird species.

"The modern discovery of an undescribed bird species within the limits of a large populous city - not to mention 30 minutes from my home - is extraordinary," said Simon Mahood, a WCS scientist who described the species - together with researchers from WCS, BirdLife International, the University of Kansas, Louisiana State University, and the Sam Veasna Centre - in a special online early-view issue of the Oriental Bird Club's journal Forktail. "The discovery indicates that new species of birds may still be found in familiar and unexpected locations."

The Cambodian bird discovery is outlined in the Oriental Bird Club journal, Forktail.

Tailorbirds are in the warbler family, and get their name from the meticulous preparation of their nests, weaving leaves together.

 Known for its distinct plumage and a loud call, the bird was discovered by scientists from conservation groups, including WCS and BirdLife International. The bird was named after a Phnom Penh riverfront area "chaktomuk" - the conjunction of three rivers - where it was found, the (WCS) said in a statement.

"The discovery indicates that new species of birds may still be found in familiar and unexpected locations," Mahood added.

"The new bird teaches us that conservation of birds and other wildlife begins at home and that we can all play a part in protecting Cambodia's wildlife."

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