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New species of scimitar-babbler

The genus Jabouilleia was long considered a monotypic genus within the Timalidae, the only representative being Short-tailed Scimitar-Babbler J danjoui from Vietnam and Laos. Recently, a new species of Jabouilleia has been described from northern Myanmar (Burma) (Rappole, J H, Renner, S C, Shwe, N M & Sweet, P R 2005. A new species of scimitar-babbler (Timalidae: Jabouilleia) from the sub-Himalayan region of Myanmar. Auk 122: 1064-1069). In February 2004, an expedition of representatives from the Myanmar Nature and Wildlife Conservation Division and the Smithsonian National Zoological Park's Conservation and Research Center visited Naung Mung on the Nam Tisang river in the extreme north of Kachin, Myanmar. This town is located at an elevation of 540 m in the sub-Himalayan region of the country, 118 km south of the Tibetan border and 53 km west of the border with Yunnan, China. The purpose of the trip was to make an inventory of the poorly known avifauna of the premontane temperate rainforest habitat. On 6 February 2004, the expedition members captured two female scimitar-babblers that appeared to be representatives of the genus Jabouilleia. Two days later, an additional female was captured in the same area. These were the first records for Jabouilleia from Myanmar and subsequent investigation showed that these specimens belonged to a previously undescribed species. The new species was named Naung Mung Scimitar-Babbler Jabouilleia naungmungensis after the locality where it was captured. The number of known species within the genus may soon rise to three because another new Jabouilleia species from northern Vietnam is expected to be published in due time.
Naung Mung Scimitar-Babbler has the long, curved bill, long legs, toes and nails and relatively short tail and wings found in Short-tailed Scimitar-Babbler. It differs from Short-tailed by its longer bill and a single black malar stripe. The new species' habitat is presumed to be limited to the premontane rain forests of northern Myanmar, but similar habitats may extend westward into regions of Myanmar and Assam, India, and to the east into Yunnan, China, although remaining suitable habitat there may be hard to find. Kachin is a restricted area and permits for visits are hard to obtain.
This discovery further documents the region's remarkable biodiversity and has implications for the conservation value of the area, which is presently unprotected. In this area, scientists have discovered a new species of deer, a new monkey, and several new species of plants, amphibians and reptiles, all within the past decade. ENNO B EBELS