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Wildlife Conservation Society finds 'world's least known bird' breeding in Afghanistan
Date:1/13/2010

. Timmins taped the bird's song. He later heard and observed more birds of the same species.

Initially, Timmins assumed these birds to be Blyth's reed warblers, but a visit to a Natural History Museum in Tring, United Kingdom to examine bird skins resulted in a surprise: the observed birds were another species. Lars Svenssonan expert on the family of reed warblers and familiar with their songsthen realized that Timmins' tape was probably the first recording of the large-billed reed warbler.

The following summer (June 2009), WCS researchers returned to the site of Timmins' first survey, this time with mist nets used to catch birds for examination. The research team broadcast the recording of the song, a technique used to bring curious birds of the same species into view for observation and examination. The recording brought in large-billed reed warblers from all directions, allowing the team to catch almost 20 of them for examination and to collect feathers for DNA. Later lab work comparing museum specimens with measurements, field images, and DNA confirmed the exciting finding: the first-known breeding population of large-billed reed warblers.

WCS is currently the only organization conducting ongoing scientific conservation studies in Afghanistanthe first such efforts in over 30 yearsand has contributed to a number of conservation initiatives and activities in partnership with the Afghanistan Government, with support from USAID (United States Agency for International Development). In 2009, the government of Afghanistan gazetted the country's first national park, Band-e-Amir, established with technical assistance from WCS's Afghanistan Program. WCS also worked with Afghanistan's National Environment Protection Agency (NEPA) in producing the country's first-ever list of protected species, an action that now bans the hunting of snow leopards, wolves, brown bears, and other species. In a related effort, WCS now works to limit illegal wildlif
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Contact: John Delaney
jdelaney@wcs.org
718-220-3275
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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