New species of bird found in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Digital Journal
26 June, 2013

A new species of bird has been identified and described by scientists who found them in rural areas associated with the Mekong River, but also in urban areas of the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh.

The bird is small, about the size of a common sparrow, with gray plumage. Males have white cheeks, a black spot in the throat and a distinct brownish-red crown. Females are similar, but show less conspicuous coloration. The new species belongs to the group of so-called “Tailorbirds” pertaining to the Orthotomus genus, of which there are about 11 other species that also inhabit regions of Asia.

The tailorbirds are so named for the way they build their nest. The birds pierce the edges of large leaves and stitch them together with plant fibers to form a kind of pouch or cradle on which they build a nest using smaller grass leaves.

The researchers named the new species Orthotomus chaktomuk. The first samples were captured in 2009, which led to the study of other specimens taken from areas surrounding the lower Mekong River and within the city of about 2.3 million inhabitants, although the bird population living within the Cambodian capital is scarce.

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