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A new species of lowland tailorbird (Passeriformes: Cisticolidae: Orthotomus) from the Mekong floodplain of Cambodia

Simon P. MAHOOD, Ashish Joshia Ingty JOHN, Jonathan C. EAMES, Carl H. OLIVEROS, Robert G. MOYLE, CHAMNAN HONG, Colin M. POOLE, Howie NIELSEN, Frederick H. SHELDON


Based on distinctive morphological and vocal characters we describe a new species of lowland tailorbird Orthotomus from dense humid lowland scrub in the floodplain of the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Bassac rivers of Cambodia. Genetic data place it in the O. atrogularisO. ruficepsO. sepium clade. All data suggest that the new species is most closely related to O. atrogularis, from which genetic differences are apparently of a level usually associated with subspecies. However the two taxa behave as biological species, existing locally in sympatry and even exceptionally in syntopy, without apparent hybridisation. The species is known so far from a small area within which its habitat is declining in area and quality. However, although birds are found in a number of small habitat fragments (including within the city limits of Phnom Penh), most individuals probably occupy one large contiguous area of habitat in the Tonle Sap floodplain. We therefore recommend it is classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. The new species is abundant in suitable habitat within its small range. Further work is required to understand more clearly the distribution and ecology of this species and in particular its evolutionary relationship with O. atrogularis.


Cambodia; birds; Passeriformes; Cisticolidae; Orthotomus; new species


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