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Rediscovered Amazon bird is a hybrid species

Recently rediscovered birds are avian hybrids of two other living species—a rare phenomenon for birds, CBC News reports. Found in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, the hybrids—golden-crowned manakins—sport a distinct yellow head that differs from their parent species, snow-capped and opal-headed manakins, researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The scientists think the golden-crowneds’ unique coloration came about sometime over the 180,000 years or so since the parents first interbred because females found it more attractive than the dull, white crowns the offspring likely originally had. The birds are an example that hybridization doesn’t necessarily erode diversity, the researchers say, but can create more of it.

*Update, 28 December, 11:12 a.m.: This item has been updated to reflect the fact that this species is not the first avian hybrid on record.

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