New flame-headed bird species found in Cambodia capital

PHNOM PENH, June 26, 2013 (AFP) – A new species of bird with a distinctive orange-red coloured tuft of feathers on its head has been found in Cambodia’s populous capital city, conservationists said on Wednesday.

The remarkable discovery of the Cambodian tailorbird, or orthotomus chaktomuk, in Phnom Penh — and several other locations including a construction site just outside of the city of 1.5 million people — has astounded conservationists.

“The modern discovery of an undescribed bird species within the limits of a large populous city… is extraordinary,” Simon Mahood of the Wildlife Conversation Society told AFP.

“It’s very surprising,” he added.

The small bird, which has a black-feathered throat and is the size of the more common wren, lives in thick, lowland scrub in Phnom Penh and other sites in the nearby floodplain, which the WCS said had kept it concealed for so long.

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