Rote Island, Indonesia sees new songbird

A joint research team led by NUS Biological Sciences has described the Rote Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus rotiensis, a unique songbird species (Photo: Philippe Verbelen)

A joint team, led by NUS Biological Sciences Assistant Professor Frank Rheindt, comprising researchers from NUS and the Indonesian Institute of Science has described an unusual new songbird species — the Rote Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus rotiensis named after Rote, Indonesia where it was found.

Situated around 12km off the coast of Timor in eastern Indonesia, the island of Rote is about 1,200sq km in size and is also where a bird species new to science, the Rote Myzomela Myzomela irianawidodoae, was discovered less than 12 months ago. That the same location yielded two novel species in the last 12 months underscores the island’s conservation value.

“The new species is part of a large group of Asian warblers but is unique among them due to its unusually long bill,” said Dr Nathaniel Ng, who was involved in the description of the bird during his PhD candidature at NUS Biological Sciences at the NUS Faculty of Science.

The discovery was published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports on 23 October.

See press release and media coverage.