The scientists said its song was unlike any they had heard before. And when they hung nets to capture the bird, they found out why _ it was a species unknown to science.
Researchers at the Federal University of Parana said the tiny, gray-black bird they captured in 1997 also had a unique habitat: a marshy area inside the city of Curitiba, 420 miles southwest of Rio de Janeiro.
Marcos Bornschein, Bianca Reinhert and Mauro Pichorim named their new bird, a member of the Scytalopus genus, the lowland tapaculo. They said its scientific description and name will be published later this year.
A similar bird lives in the forest only a few miles away from where the newly discovered bird makes its home, but that bird has a different song and never wanders to the marshes. Similar birds also live in the Andes Mountains, more than 2,000 miles westward.
But closer study of the lowland tapaculo determined that 11 factors, from the shape of its feathers to its bone structure, were unique, Bornschein said. It measures about 4 inches long and weighs a half-ounce.
Jose Fernando Pacheco, an ornithologist with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, confirmed the finding.
"The song is different, and the type of terrain it inhabits is different," he said.
The lowland tapaculo is the second new bird species that Bornschein and Reinhert have discovered.
Their first discovery is called Stymphalornis acupirostris but has no English name. It also makes its home in the same sort of marshy area where the lowland tapaculo lives.