However, its distinctive song eventually gave it away, said one of the researchers Pamela Rasmussen, professor at the Michigan State University.

"The Sichuan bush warbler is exceedingly secretive and difficult to spot as its preferred habitat is dense brush and tea plantations," Rasmussen noted.

"However, it distinguishes itself thanks to its distinctive song that consists of a low-pitched drawn-out buzz, followed by a shorter click, repeated in series," she explained.

While the bird may be elusive, it is common in central China and doesn't appear to be under any imminent threat, she said. The new bird's closest cousin is Russet bush warbler. Both warblers can be found on some of the same mountains.

However, where they reside together, the Sichuan bush warbler prefers to live at lower elevations. Along with sharing the same mountain habitat, the two warblers also are close neighbours in terms of genetics.

Analyses of mitochondrial DNA show that the warbler species are closely related and are estimated to have had a common ancestor around 8,50,000 years ago, the researchers noted.

The bird's Latin name, Locustella chengi, honours the late Chinese ornithologist Cheng Tso-hsin. The discovery was reported in the journal Avian Research.

 

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