IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


13th December, 2022 Environment

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Context:  Six birdwatchers trekked to a peak in Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang district in search of the rare and elusive grey-bellied wren babbler. They recorded a potentially new species of songbird they named after the Lisu, the local community.


  • The grey-bellied wren babbler is mostly found in Myanmar with some birds occurring in adjoining China and Thailand.
  • There has been only one previous report of this bird from India when two specimens were collected from Mugafi close to the Myanmar border in 1988. 
  • The belly of grey-bellied wren babbler is grey. But all the photos they showed birds with a whitish belly.
  • When all the information was put together, the birdwatchers realised they have probably documented a new bird for science — at least a new subspecies, but more likely a new species. The plumage in conjunction with the songs do not match with any known species.
  • Establishing and naming a species or subspecies scientifically requires genetic material from these birds to be compared against other wren babbler species. But the team named the bird Lisu wren babbler.