Visitors observe birds at Peru's Pacaya Samiria National Reserve in the Amazon jungle, 2011.
Credits: REUTERS/Pilar Olivares
The Sira Barbet, Capito fitzpatricki, is described in a paper published in The Auk, the official publication of the American Ornithologists' Union.
The new species was discovered during a 2008 expedition led by Michael G. Harvey, Glenn Seeholzer and Ben Winger, young ornithologists who had recently graduated from Cornell at the time. They were accompanied by Daniel Cáceres, a graduate of the Universidad Nacional de San Agustín in Arequipa, Peru, and local Ashéninka guides.
The team discovered the barbet on a ridge of montane cloud forest in the Cerros del Sira range in the eastern Andes. Steep ridges and deep river gorges in the Andes produce many isolated habitats and microclimates that give rise to uniquely evolved species.
By comparing DNA sequences of the new barbet to DNA sequences of its close relatives in the genus Capito, the team secured genetic evidence that this is a new species in the barbet family.
The team says it chose the scientific name of the new species - Capito fitzpatricki - in honor of Cornell Lab of Ornithology executive director John W. Fitzpatrick, who discovered and named seven new bird species in Peru during the 1970s and '80s.