Belo Horizonte, Brazil, June 12, 2003--A newly described and critically endangered pygmy-owl species discovered in Brazil was named today after Intel founder Gordon Moore and his wife Betty Moore, announced Conservation International. The description of the bird appears in the most recent edition of the "Brazilian Journal of Ornithology."
The tiny owl, measuring 6 inches from bill to tail and weighing a mere 2 ounces, was found in fragmented secondary forest in Pernambuco state in northeastern Brazil. It will be known as Glaucidium mooreorum, or by its common name, the Pernambuco pygmy-owl.
The three scientists responsible for the study named the owl after the Moores for their contributions to biodiversity conservation. In 2001, the Moore Foundation made one of the largest gifts in environmental history by giving Conservation International $261 million in a series of grants over 10 years to implement a major global strategy for biodiversity conservation.
The owl was first recorded in 1980 by Galileu Coelho, a professor at the Federal University of Pernambuco, who did not realize at the time that this was a distinct species. It was only in 2000 when Jos Maria Cardoso da Silva of Conservation International - Brazil came across the stored specimen in a bird collection and compared it with similar species, that he concluded it was indeed new to science. After analyzing the bird's song against those of other species, Luiz Pedreira Gonzaga of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro supported Cardoso da Silva's hypothesis.
"Birds are generally considered to be quite well-studied and only about three new bird species are described per year, so this is a special find," said Gustavo Fonseca, CI's Executive Vice President for Programs and Science.