New Rail Species Identified

The recent discovery of a new bird species in Madagascar has confirmed that no matter how much the world thinks it knows about nature, there are still a number of surprises in store. Many have known about the bird for ages, but only heard its call at night. No-one has been able to view a live specimen, as it also seems to be master at being illusive. Now that it has finally been seen, identified and illustrated, the find is not only good news for researchers and scientists, but for the entire dry forests of Madagascar, as conservation efforts will be enhanced to protect this rare bird species.

Classified amongst the rails, the Mentocrex beankaensis is the latest species that has finally come to light. It has been a collaborated effort to find this bird, as it is small and brown, camouflaging itself perfectly and only comes out at night. The Chicago Field Museum, as well as researchers from Madagascar, are extremely excited about adding the new species to the list. Several new species have been discovered since the project began in the Beanka Forest, which is an extremely remote area that is rich in rare plant and animal life. This forest has always proved to be a wonderful location of exploration and research, proving the importance of conserving this forest numerous times over. The Director of Biodiversity Conservation in Madagascar, Aldus Andriamomonjy, commented that the discovery of these species will help the small communities living near to the forest and will enhance the conservation of the forest and its animal life.

Andriamomonjy was quoted saying: “We have taken an approach to the conservation of the Beanka Forest resting on working in unison with local people to fulfill aspects of their economic and development needs and bestowing a sense of natural patrimony of the organisms that live in their forest. These are aspects critical for any long-term successful project. The discovery of this new species of bird and other organisms during the late 2009 expedition underlines the importance of our mission and the uniqueness of the Beanka Forest.” With other species and now Mentocrex beankaensis being found and identified, one has to wonder how many more secrets this magnificent forest in Madagascar still has in store for researchers.