A rare, vivid green bird with radiant yellow head feathers is actually a unique hybrid species that lives in the Amazon rainforest, researchers have found.
The small, golden-crowned manakin was first discovered in Brazil in 1957, but then it was not seen again until its rediscovery 45 years later in 2002. A new study of the bird’s origins shows that the golden-crowned manakin is a cross between the snow-capped manakin and the opal-crowned manakin, representing the first hybrid-bird species found to date, according to a statement from the University of Toronto.
“While hybrid plant species are very common, hybrid species among vertebrates are exceedingly rare,” Jason Weir, senior author of the study, said in the statement.
Hybridization occurs when two species interbreed to produce a third. While the three related species of manakins all have radiant yellow-green upper bodies with golden undersides, each has distinctively colored feathers on their head.
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