Sierra Madre ground warbler

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Sierra Madre ground warbler
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Locustellidae
Genus: Robsonius
Species: R. thompsoni
Binomial name
Robsonius thompsoni
Hosner et al., 2013[1]

Napothera thompsoni

The Sierra Madre ground warbler (Robsonius thompsoni) is a bird species that was discovered on the Luzon Island in the Philippines by the University of Kansas research team. This new species is named after Max Thompson, a retired professor from Southwestern College and a research associate in the Biodiversity Institute at the University of Kansas.[2][3] They feed on insects, and tend to live in tropical understories. Some taxonomists continue to list the species in the Timaliidae, others in the Pellorneidae. Current studies suggest placement in the Locustellidae. They’re ground-walking songbirds — rotund, with strong legs and weak wings — and it appears that they can barely fly. They tend to inhabit dense forest understory, where they feed on insects. Their song is extremely high in pitch, and ventriloquial — it is almost impossible to locate the source of the sound in the forest — they always sound like they are far away, even when they are almost at your feet. The bird looks similar to the other two species of ground warblers in the Philippines, the Bicol ground warbler and the Cordillera ground warbler, so it was not recognized as an independent species at first.[4][5]

The three species of ground warblers are identical in size, shape, and juvenile plumage coloration, but they differ from one another in adult plumage coloration, as discovered by University of Kansas biologist, Pete Hosner. Since they are so alike they were always thought to be the same species. Once a DNA test was conducted it became very obvious that these species were not the same.[6] One way to tell the difference between a Bicol ground warbler or a Cordillera ground warbler and a Sierra Madre ground warbler is that the plumage of an adult bird is variegated brown, gray and red. The Sierra Madre ground warbler is 20 centimeters long with relatively long legs.[7]


  1. ^ Hosner, Peter A.; et al. (2013). "Phylogeography of the Robsonius Ground-Warblers (Passeriformes: Locustellidae) Reveals an Undescribed Species from Northeastern Luzon, Philippines.". Condor. 115 (3): 630–639. doi:10.1525/cond.2013.120124. 
  2. ^ "Outdoors notes: Warbler has Sunflower State connections". Kansas. 7 September 2013. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "New 'Ventriloquist' Bird Species Discovered In Philippines". Kansas University via Asian Scientist. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  4. ^ "sierra madre ground warbler new bird". Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  5. ^ "'Ventriloquist' bird discovered in Philippines". Kansas University. 3 September 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  6. ^ Foley, James. "New Bird Species Acts like a Ventriloquist". 
  7. ^ "New PHL bird species found in Northern Luzon".