Introducing the Cambodian tailorbird

Recently, a new species of bird was discovered in the heart of Phnom Penh, the capitol of Cambodia.

Experts from the Wildlife Conservation Society, BirdLife International and other avian concerns found this fluttering critter in both the Cambodian capital – whose 2.3 million residents must have noticed it before, but perhaps were too polite to point it out to the Western birdwatchers with their nets and binoculars – and in a construction site outside of the city. This type of tailorbird, called Orthotomus chaktomuk, is now the second bird known to live exclusively inside Cambodia, the other being the pleasantly named laughingthrush giggling away in the Cardamom Mountains.

The tailorbird lives in patches of dense scrubland and went unnoticed to ornithologists for decades, despite having a look-at-me! “rufous” head and a twittering screech not unlike a rape whistle. The scientists say that the males produce lengthy ballads that are sometimes more than a minute long and strung with “overslurred” trills, while the females give a “nasal squeak consisting of a single note with harmonics.” You can hear a sample of this beautiful music here.