Researchers Discover a New Berrypecker Bird, Satin Fruit Bird from West Papua – In June 2021, researchers reported the discovery of a new type of Berrypecker, the Fruit Bird (Melanochrais) in the Kumawa Mountains, West Papua. The new type of berrypecker bird was named Melanocharis citreola, sp. Nov. Milá, Ashari & Thebaud. The bird’s English name is Satin Berrypecker and the Indonesian name of this new species is Satin Fruit Bird. The results of this study have been published in the IBIS scientific journal, on June 11, 2021.

Administratively, the Lengguru area is included in Kaimana Regency, West Papua Province. Lengguru is located in the neck of the mountain area of ​​Papua and has a unique landscape of rugged and isolated limestone mountains. Hidayat Azhari, a researcher at the Biological Research Center of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), said that from a biological point of view, this area is under-studied, because of its dangerous terrain, steep slopes, and lack of water supply over the mountains.

Hidayat explained, the discovery of this bird was the result of the Lengguru Project, which is a collaboration between Indonesia and France, which was carried out twice, namely in 2014 and 2017. This project is part of the large framework of the Lengguru Project organized by the French Institute de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Papua University (UNIPA), Cendrawasih University (UNCEN), Musamus University (UNMUS) and  Polytechnic of KP Sorong.

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Apart from Hidayat from Indonesia, the other Berrypecker bird research team in West Papua are Borja Milá, Jade Bruxaux, Guillermo Friis, Katerina Sam, Christophe Thébaud (France). The first expedition was carried out in November 2014, when the expedition team got success to reach an altitude of 1100-1200 meters above sea level (masl). During four days at this location, the expedition team managed to capture a male bird, which has not been clearly identified, and was identified only as Melanocharis.

Meanwhile, in 2015, biologists Jared Diamond and K. David Bishop, had reached an altitude of 1000 meters above sea level between 1983 and 2013. The both researchers reported in seeing a female bird thought to be of the Berrypecker bird species.

They described the bird as having an olive-colored top and a pale yellowish underside and indistinct stripes. Unfortunately, said Hidayat, there are no specimens or photos of the bird. Subsequent examinations were carried out by making comparisons with other Melanocharis specimens in the Bogor Zoological Museum (MZB) LIPI.

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