Listen and you might discover something new, like an owl

A new species of owl has been discovered on the island of Lombok, Indonesian. The species that was falsely identified for many years now turns out to be a new one, and only discovered by its unusual call.

For over 100 years it was believed that a population of owl on the island was the Moluccan scops owl (Otus magicus). However, on a recent expedition to the island two scientists simultaneously discovered it was a different and new species by its unique whistling call.

It was previously mistakenly because of similarities in their plumage (feathers).

Owls use sounds to identify their own species and help find a mate because they are active during the night. These sounds are not learned so researches believe that it is “most likely a genetic basis”.

A new species of owl: Rinjani scops owl. Photo by: Philippe Verbelen.

The scientist overheard the unusual call and investigated further. Additional comparisons of sound recordings and museum specimens have confirmed the new species and has been named Rinjani scops owl (Otus jolandae) and is Lombok Islands first endemic (meaning that species is found only on this one Island) bird species.

In the future scientists hope to “determine the exact distribution, elevational range and population density” and whether this new species is at risk from deforestation on the Island.

Want to learn more?  Read the full story here: Unique song reveals new owl species in Indonesia

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