Flatbill flycatcher- New Species of Bird Discovered in South America

In South America, a New Species of Bird named Flatbill flycatchers have been discovered.

Key Facts

  • Flatbill flycatcher are members of genus Rhynchocyclusin exclusively New World family Tyrannidae.
  • Four known species in this genus are distributed across southern Mexico to north-eastern Bolivia, Brazil and eastern Venezuela.

Four Species of Genus Rhynchocyclus

  • Genus Rhynchocyclus currently comprises of four species:
  1. Olivaceous flatbill (Rhynchocyclus olivaceus),
  2. Eye-ringed flatbill (Rhynchocyclus brevirostris),
  3. Pacific flatbill (Rhynchocyclus pacificus)and
  4. Fulvous-breasted flatbill (Rhynchocyclus fulvipectus).
  • Two of these species, Rhynchocyclus pacificus & Rhynchocyclus fulvipectus are monotypic, while other two are polytypic.

Subspecies of Rhynchocyclus olivaceus

There are nine sub-species of Rhynchocyclus olivaceus. All the subspecies are very similar to each other. They have a remarkable constancy in morphometric characters and plumage colour patterns. It evidences their cryptic nature. All the species are large-headed and flat-billed.

About Cryptic flatbill

The newly discovered species has been named as cryptic flatbill (Rhynchocyclus cryptus) after its remarkable morphological cryptic nature, it strongly contrasts with its high levels of vocal and genetic differentiation.  The species prefers seasonally flooded floodplain forests (varzea), including degraded patches near to human settlements. It can be found towards south of the Amazon River, banks of Madeira River in Amazonas & Acre in Brazil, west of Maranon River in Peru, and south to north or central Bolivia in the Mamore.

Threats for Rhynchocyclus cryptus 

The main threats for the species are:

  1. Deforestation due to rapid progress of livestock farms
  2. Monocultures and implementation of large hydroelectric dams on the Madeira River. It affects the flow of sediments.

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