New Bird Species Are Still Being Declared In 2021

It seems mind-boggling that in an age where we have explored pretty much the entire Earth’s land surface, excluding the 95% of the ocean floor, we could still be finding new bird species. With so many birds threatened by extinction (1 in 6 in Australia alone), it is great news that new bird species are being discovered.

A new bird species called the Inti Tanager was described in 2021. Ornithologists Daniel Lane and Gary Rosenberg first viewed the bird through a telescope on the Kosñipata Road in southeastern Peru in October of 2000. It took 21 years of sightings and studies to declare it as a new species.

The Amazon Rainforest of South America is home to over 1300 bird species and with much of it relatively unexplored, it may just hold more new bird species for us to discover. Continue reading to learn more about the Inti Tanager, including why it is called the ‘Kill Bill Tanager.’

New Bird Species In The Jungles Of Peru

a view of rainforest in Manu National Park in Peru
Rainforest in Manu National Park, Peru – image by slowmotiongli from Getty Images.

The Manu-Kosñipata Road is a popular spot with birders across the world. It is located in the Manu Biosphere Reserve, the largest rainforest reserve in the world which contains 19 different habitat types and boasts around 860 species of birds.

Wings Birding Tours Worldwide has an impressive list of bird sightings from their tours of this area here at this link. If you click on Bird List at the top of the article it will download automatically. Prepare to have your jaw drop!

If you are into bird photography, this article here on my site will help you with the right focus mode to use.

a Scarlet Macaw in a tree
A Scarlet Macaw in Manu National Park – image by Javier Dinten Fernandez from Getty Images

It was while leading a birding tour through this region that Daniel Lane and Gary Rosenberg heard the calls of the Init Tanager, then unidentified.

Both men managed to glimpse the bird through their optics but it quickly flew off out of sight. It was a brilliant yellow bird with a black stripe on its head and a pink beak.

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The men left the area that day with no idea of what they had seen, the bird did not match the description of any known to be in that area.

They returned to the same spot over the next two years but found no sign of the mysterious yellow bird.

Have you ever wondered what birds do all day? Find out in this post here on the blog.

The Kill Bill Tanager

It was not until October of 2003 that they were able to sight the bird again. Both men and everyone in the tour they were leading at the time got great views of the bird. After this encounter, news of the bird quickly spread through the birding world.

As the Quentin Tarantino film, Kill Bill was out that year, the bird earned the nickname of the Kill Bill Tanager due to its coloring resembling the yellow and black jumpsuit Uma Thurman wore in the movie.

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A Sighting In Bolivia

In December of 2011, over 200 miles from where Lane and Rosenberg spotted the Inti Tanager, it was sighted again. Ornithologist Frank Rheindt heard its song in the foothills of the Machariapo Valley in northwestern Bolivia.

a map of South America focusing on Bolivia

He followed the sound and realized that he had found the mysterious yellow bird from Peru. And he hadn’t found just one bird, there were many in the same area.

Teams of U.S. and Bolivian ornithologists came to the region to study the birds in 2012, 2013, and 2019.

Daniel Lane was the lead author of a paper describing this new species which has Bolivian ornithologists and birders buzzing.

five llamas standing in a field. one is asking "Did you hear about the new bird species?" Another is replying "Why, yes, it's terrible exciting!"

The Origin Of The Name Inti Tanager

The Inti Tanager is known by two other names; the Kill Bill Tanager and the San Pedro Tananger.

The word inti is a Quechuan word meaning Sun and also the name of an ancient Incan sun god, appropriate to describe this bird’s beautiful yellow feathers. The Quechuan are indigenous people of the Andean Highlands from Ecuador to Bolivia.

a Quechan family
Quechan family on an island in Lake Titicaca, Peru – image by Barry Callister

More New Species Discovered By Frank Rheindt

Ornithologist Frank Rheindt has been involved in the discovery of other new bird species as well.

“Our world needs a new impetus, a renaissance in biodiversity discovery. We need more of that now because we can only conserve what we know.”

Frank Rheindt

In 2013, Rheindt teamed up with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences to organize an expedition to remote Indonesian Islands that had previously only had their coastlines explored.

During the six-week expedition to Peleng, Taliabu, and the Togian Islands group, five new bird species were found including the Taliabu Myzomela Honeyeater, the Togian Jungle-flycatcher, and the Grasshopper-warbler.

view from a ferry in the Togian Islands in Indonesia
A ferry in the Togian Islands – LawrieM (talk).LawrieM at en.wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Satin Berrypecker Of Western New Guinea

In the cloud forest of the Kumawa Mountains of Western New Guinea at an elevation of 1200 meters above sea level yet another new bird species has been discovered.

The Satin Berrypecker is a small songbird with iridescent blue-black upper parts and satin-white underparts showing a trace of lemon yellow.

a man holding specimens of a new bird species, the Satin Berrypecker, both male and female
Photos by Borja Milá from

These birds, like many in New Guinea, are found nowhere else in the world. The forests where they are found are some of the most biologically unexplored areas on the planet.

According to an article from Now, around 5 new species of birds are discovered each year. If this is true, it is very exciting news, especially at a time when so many birds are endangered or threatened.


Barry Callister

Barry is a bird photographer and bird watcher with over 7 years of experience. He runs his own YouTube channel about photography and promotes his nature photography on his personal website

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