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Old Thursday 1st February 2007, 05:08   #1
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Can you ID this New Guinea bird song? (audio file)

When I lived in Papua New Guinea last year, I heard a bird I couldn't identify singing in a valley in the Eastern Highlands Province. The elevation was approximately 1600 meters/1 mile. Habitat was human-altered (typical of the highland valleys), and the bird sang from the tops of tall trees like Casuarina.

On a couple of occasions, I saw Mountain (Red-headed) Myzomelas (Myzomela adolphinae) in the same tree from which I'd been hearing this song. I'm familiar with the myzomela's chips and trills, which are the only vocalizations I could find described in the literature I had. I wondered if the song below could be an alternate myzomela vocalization, but perhaps its something else entirely.

The mp3 is here: mystery song. The quality is very poor. You will probably have to turn up your speakers to hear the bird.

Note that I removed the spaces between the bird's individual phrases. You will hear them one right after the other in this sample, but when singing, the bird paused 5-15 seconds between phrases. The "ringing" quality of the bird's voice reminded me of North American Carolina Wrens or brown thrushes.

Any ideas?

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Old Thursday 1st February 2007, 12:35   #2
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Based on your description, I thought of a Gerygone, but it doesn't sound like whistling enough to me... maybe indeed a Myzomela.
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Old Thursday 1st February 2007, 13:28   #3
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It probably doesn't come across well in the recording, but this bird's voice had both "ringing" and "burry" qualities. As you pointed out, this is quite unlike the soft whistling songs of gerygones (or at least, gerygone songs or calls I'm familiar with). Gerygone ruficollis, of course, is the species that occurs in the habitat where this recording was made.
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