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American scientists claim they have discovered a new robin species in the Central African Republic, a find ornithologists say illustrates how little is known about birds in Africa.

Pamela Beresford announced the discovery at the 22nd International Ornithological Congress, which has brought together more than 1,000 of the world's leading birders in this eastern coast city.

A graduate student with the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Ms. Beresford first encountered the bird in November 1996, during a World Wildlife Fund-sponsored survey in the Central African Republic.

"When we first collected it we thought it was a typical forest robin, but when we tried to classify it we realized we had something new," Ms. Beresford said.

The small olive-brown bird is similar to other forest robins except that its throat and upper breast are bright yellow-red and it stomach is a shade of yellow.

Other forest robins typically have white stomachs and upper breasts.

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