DISCOVERY ON THE ROAD TO ETHIOPIA Reported by Andy Cobley

SEEN IN NEW SCIENTIST ON 12 AUFGUST 1995


A SINGLE WING FROM A MANGLED BIRD FOUND SQUASHED ON THE ROAD HAS PROVED ENOUGH FOR AN ENGLISH EXPEDITION TO ETHIOPIA TO CLAIM DISCOVERY OF A NEW SPECIES OF NIGHTJAR. THE TEAM FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE FOUND THE CORPSE PARTLY BURIED IN A TIRE TRACK ON A ROAD THROUGH THE NECHISAR NATIONAL PARK DURING A 13-WEEK EXPEDITION TO THE NECHISAR PLAINS OF SOUTHERN ETHIOPIA.

ROGER SAFFORD, WILL DUCKWORTH, MARK TELFER AND MIKE EVANS FROM CAMBRIDGE, AND CHEMERE ZEWDIE, A WARDEN AT THE NECHISAR NATIONAL PARK, WERE ABLE TO SALVAGE THE BIRD'S WING. DESPITE HAVING ONLY A WING TO WORK ON, ORNITHOLOGISTS ARE CONFIDENT THAT IT BELONGS TO A NEW SPECIES. ONE OF THE FEW WAYS TO TELL DIFFERENT SPECIES OF NIGHTJAR APART IS FROM MARKINGS ON THE WINGS -AND THIS WING, WITH AN UNUSUAL WHITE PATCH, IS THE MOST DISTINCTIVE OF ANY NIGHTJAR YET FOUND. IN THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE JOURNAL IBIS, THE TEAM, WITH THE ADDITION OFRETIRED ORNITHOLOGIST JOHN ASH, HAVE NAMED THE BIRD THE NECHISAR NIGHTJAR, CAPRIMULGUS SOLALA - FROM SOLUS (ONLY) AND ALA (A WING). DESPITE SEVERAL SURVEYS OF THE REGION NO ONE HAS YET FOUND A LIVING SPECIMEN.