Slovakia welcomes a new, unusual bird into its animal registry

Birdwatchers in Bratislava have confirmed a new bird breed originally from Spain and Portugal flying around.

Iberian ChiffchaffIberian Chiffchaff (Source: watching.sk)

Slovakia will officially recognise a new bird species, spotted on April 20, 2021.

Thanks to the discovery, the number of bird kinds in the country increased to 368. It was not an easy find, birdwatchers from the Watching.sk website have confirmed.

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"A small, almost unnoticeable bird was seen near the Freedom Cycling Bridge," said Ján Dobšovič, an experienced birdwatcher. "Until now, nobody in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria, or Hungary has spotted such a bird."

The small creature is known as the Iberian chiffchaff and originates in Spain and Portugal, Watching.sk reported.

Singing as an identification sign

Its features closely resemble one of the most numerous bird breeds in Slovakia, the Common chiffchaff. It is difficult to distinguish the two based on their colour.

The group of birdwatchers listened to the bird sing as it was the only way they were able to recognise the bird as a different breed, Dobšovič explained. Its song is completely different from that of the Common chiffchaff.

"While walking near the Morava River, we heard a bird singing. We were not sure about the sound as it closely resembled a wren but it was not quite the same sound," said Katarína Hlásniková.

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She and her team compared the sounds to recordings they had ordinarily take on their phones. One of her colleagues said that the sound matched that of the Iberian chiffchaff. They recorded the sound and quickly returned home to get their binoculars and cameras in order to properly document the sight, Watching.sk reported.

"I was able to confirm that it is the Iberian Chiffchaff," Dobšovič said. "Detecting the type of bird solely based on the sound it makes is very rare."

He even used a computer programme for comparing bird songs of different types of birds. The programme was not able to detect this sound in Slovakia, so Dobšovič changed the location to Spain which is when the application showed a 100 percent match, Watching.sk reported.

"More ornithologists later arrived at the site to document the rare chiffchaff," he added.

The commission focused on Slovak fauna still has to officially confirm the new bird type, and the process could take several months, Dobšovič noted.

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