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Myzomela irianawidodoae sp.nov, new species of bird that found in Rote island .(Foto: Agus Priyono)

MANADO, ZONAUTARA.com – Research team of Center Biological Research – LIPI led by Dr. Dewi M. Prawiradilaga publish a new type of bird from Rote island, Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT).

The team working with researchers from the National University of Singapore, (Ass Prof. Frank Rheindt et al) believes that the endemic bird of Myzomela spp is a new species.

The announcement of the new type of bird was delivered by the Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya while in Manado, Thursday (11/1/2018).

“President Joko Widodo has permitted the use of his wife name to the bird species found on this Rote island,” said Siti Nurbaya

This species has the name Myzomela irianawidodoae sp.nov. This is the first time in Indonesia, the name of the bird using the name president’s wife.

“This is an expression and appreciation to the President’s wife who is very concerned about bird life, her dedication can be an example in saving the environment in Indonesia,” said Siti Nurbaya.

Myzomela irianawidodoae birds are small with 11.8 cm long body, weighs 32.23 grams and half-length of 1.79 cm; the wingspan is 17.2 cm and the wing length is 5.8 cm, the tail length is 3.7 cm and the height of the foot is 1.67 cm.

Black beak, dark brown eyes, black legs and fingers with yellow nail pads. The hairs on the head to the upper chest,  the neck are red blood, the black bridle color and the thin black line around the eyes, the black ribbon in mid-chest and gradually becoming gray with olive stroke on the lower chest, abdomen, thighs.

The back and tail of the bird are black, and the middle of the back to the red tunggir and black wings mixed with dark gray.

This bird is a nectar eater, the sweet liquid contained in flowers. They also like some small insects, including spiders.

“This bird inhabits in forests, bushes, farm and flowering trees,  sometimes can be found eating nectar on the flowers of teak trees around the village. The sound of the chirp singing while flying,” said Dr. Dewi M. Prawiradilaga.

As a nectar eater, M. irianawidodoae birds have the potential to become pollinators. But this role in nature needs to be proved deep in research and observation.

Rote is the largest island in the Rote Archipelago in NTT Province. The island is in the southernmost region of Indonesia.

This bird belongs to the Meliphagidae family as a protected bird according to Law No. 5 of 1990 on the Conservation of Biological Natural Resources and its Ecosystem, in Government Regulation Number 7 of 1999.

The discovery of this new type requires a very long process, starting from Forbes’s statement in 1879 that there are still many types of Myzomela spp. in the undiscovered Wallacea region.

In 1996 Johnstone and Jepson reported the alleged new type of Myzomela from Rote Island on the list of bird species based on their observations in 1990 and 1993.

Then in 2009 an environmental activist Philip Verbelen reported his observations in Rote Island on the same bird species, and successfully  take photos and sound recordings.

Finally in 2017, the research team of the Center for Biological Research – LIPI and the National University of Singapore research team publish this new species in the scientific journal Treubia Volume 44, December 2017 edition, pages 77-100.

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