Monday, May 14, 2007

New hummingbird species discovered

[Via AP] BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- There's a new chirp in the forest. The Gorgeted Puffleg, a rare hummingbird that boasts a plumage of violet blue and iridescent green on its throat, has been discovered living in the cloud forests of southwestern Colombia, researchers announced Sunday.

Researchers have warned that the newly-discovered bird is in danger from the slash and burn system of the region's coca crops, the raw material used in the production of cocaine.

The species belongs to the Puffleg genus, which appear to have "little cotton balls above their legs," said Luis Mazariegos-Hurtado, who has spent 30 years documenting hummingbirds and founded the Colombian Hummingbird Conservancy.

Investigators caught their first glimpse of the bird while surveying a mountain ridge in the Cauca province in 2005. Braving the zone's leftist rebels and drug traffickers, they returned to confirm the sighting.

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