Breeding area of "world's least known bird species" found in Afghanistan

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Washington, January 16 (ANI): Researchers for the Wildlife Conservation Society have discovered in Afghanistan the breeding area of the large-billed reed warbler, which is dubbed "the world's least known bird species".

The breeding area is in the remote and rugged Wakhan Corridor of the Pamir Mountains of north-eastern Afghanistan.

Using a combination of astute field observations, museum specimens, DNA sequencing, and the first known audio recording of the species, researchers verified the discovery by capturing and releasing almost 20 birds earlier this year, the largest number ever recorded.

The recent discovery of large-billed reed warblers in Afghanistan represents a watershed moment in the study of this bird, called in 2007 the world's least known bird species by BirdLife International.

The first specimen was discovered in India in 1867, with more than a century elapsing before a second discovery of a single bird in Thailand in 2006.

"Practically nothing is known about this species, so this discovery of the breeding area represents a flood of new information on the large-billed reed warbler," said Colin Poole, Executive Director of WCS's Asia Program.

"This new knowledge of the bird also indicates that the Wakhan Corridor still holds biological secrets and is critically important for future conservation efforts in Afghanistan," he added.

The find serves as a case study in the detective work needed to confirm ornithological discoveries. (ANI)

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