JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Researchers looking for a nocturnal bird in Indonesia accidentally identified a new species of owl – one that has a distinct whistling song and is believed to exist nowhere else in the world.

The Rinjani Scops owl was first identified in 2003 and has since been spotted only on Lombok island, about 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the popular resort island of Bali. The findings were published Wednesday in the online journal PLOS ONE.

The small owl, with brown and white feathers and big golden eyes, had been confused with a similar-looking species for more than a century. But scientists from Sweden and the U.S., who were visiting the island doing separate research on another nocturnal bird, both recorded the Rinjani Scops owl's vocalizations. They noticed that its whistled note was entirely different from other songs, including that of the widespread Moluccan Scops owl, or Otus magicus.

"I am surprised that the true identity of this bird has remained hidden from the scientific world for so long," George Sangster, lead author from the Swedish Museum of Natural History, said in an email. "The Rihnjani Scops owl is quite common and can be found on various parts of the island. It is also very vocal, so it is hard to miss."

He said the discovery was not published for 10 years due to the work needed to verify the finding.

The researchers reviewed all previous work and museum specimens dating to 1896. They found a report mentioning the Rinjani Scops owl's tone, which differs from the barking cry of the Moluccan Scops owl. However, plumage, size and shape were primarily used to identify species until the late 1970s when vocalizations were added. Lombok also remained less visited by bird researchers than other parts of Indonesia, which may explain why it took longer for the Rinjani Scops owl to be identified.

"Now that there is a beautiful owl known only from this island, we hope that more bird watchers will visit Lombok," Sangster said. "Ornithologists have long patted themselves on the back, believing that the taxonomy of birds is `almost complete.' With each new discovery, this becomes less credible. It underscores that even after 150 years of scientific study we still do not know all the birds in the Indo-Malayan region."

More fieldwork was conducted to determine that the Rinjani Scops owl – named Otus jolandae after Sangster's wife who first discovered the species with him – was not found elsewhere. However, Sangster said more investigation is need to completely rule out the bird's existence in extreme western Sumbawa, a neighboring island.

The owl has long been known by Indonesian bird experts, but they too believed it was part of the more widespread species.

"We are proud of this new discovery as it has added another endemic species in Indonesia," said Yoppy Hidayanto, coordinator of Burung Indonesia, a bird conservation group in Bogor, West Java. "There are still so many things that could be explored about birds in Indonesia."

The new owl's English name comes from Mount Rinjani, Indonesia's second-highest volcano, located on Lombok.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Diceros sumatrensis</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Sumatran rhino <strong>Category:</strong> Rhino <strong>Population: </strong> < 250 individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Hunting for horn -used in traditional medicine

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Eleutherodactylus thorectes</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Macaya Breast-Spot Frog <strong>Category:</strong> Frog <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat destruction due to charcoal production and slash-and-burn agriculture Credit: <a href="http://www.robindmoore.com">Robin Moore</a>

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Scaturiginichthys vermeilipinnis</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Red-Finned Blue Eye <strong>Category:</strong> Freshwater Fish <strong>Population: </strong>2,000 - 4,000 Individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Predation by introduced species

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Rafetus Swinhoei</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Red River Giant Softshell Turtle <strong>Category:</strong> Turtle <strong>Population: </strong>4 known individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Hunting for consumption and habitat destruction and degradation as a result of wetland destruction and pollution

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Neurergus kaiseri</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Luristan newt <strong>Category:</strong> Newt <strong>Population: </strong> < 1000 mature individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Illegal collection for pet trade

  • List Provided By Zoological Society Of London/ International Union For Conservation Of Nature

    <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Poecilotheria metallica</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Peacock Parachute Spider <strong>Category:</strong> Spider <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat loss and degradation as a result of deforestation, firewood collection and civil unrest

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Atelopus balios</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Rio Pescado Stubfoot Toad <strong>Category:</strong> Toad <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Chytridiomycosis and habitat destruction due to logging and agricultural expansion

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Johora Singaporensis</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Singapore Freshwater Crab <strong>Category:</strong> Crab <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat degradation - reduction in water quality and quantity

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Abies beshanzuensis</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Baishan Fir <strong>Category:</strong> Conifer <strong>Population: </strong>5 mature individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Agricultural expansion and fire

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Actinote zikani </em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>None <strong>Category:</strong> Butterfly <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown, one population remaining <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat degradation due to pressure from human populations

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Aipysurus foliosquama</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Leaf Scaled Sea-Snake <strong>Category:</strong> Sea snake <strong>Population: </strong> Unknown, two subpopulations remain <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Unknown - likely degradation of coral reef habitat

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Amanipodagrion gilliesi</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Amani Flatwing <strong>Category:</strong> Damselfly <strong>Population: </strong> < 500 individuals est. <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat degradation due to increasing population pressure and water pollution

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Antilophia bokermanni</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Araripe Manakin <strong>Category:</strong> bird <strong>Population: </strong>779 individuals (est 2010) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat destruction due to expansion of agriculture and recreational facilities and water diversion

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> Antisolabis seychellensis <strong>Common Name: </strong> Seychelles Earwig <strong>Category:</strong> Earwig <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Invasive species and climate change

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> Aphanius transgrediens <strong>Common Name: </strong>None <strong>Category:</strong> Freshwater fish <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Competition and predation by Gambusia and road construction

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> Ardeotis nigriceps <strong>Common Name: </strong> Great Indian Bustard <strong>Category:</strong> Bird <strong>Population: </strong> 50 -249 mature individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat loss and modification due to agricultural development

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> Aproteles bulmerae <strong>Common Name: </strong>Bulmer's Fruit Bat <strong>Category:</strong> Bat <strong>Population: </strong>150 individuals (est) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Hunting and cave disturbance

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> Ardea insignis <strong>Common Name: </strong>White Bellied Heron <strong>Category:</strong> Bird <strong>Population: </strong>70-400 individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat destruction and degradation due to hydropower development

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Astrochelus yniphora</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong> Ploughshare Tortoise / Angonoka <strong>Category:</strong> Tortoise <strong>Population: </strong>440-770 <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Illegal collection for international pet trade

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Aythya innotata</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Madagascar Pochard <strong>Category:</strong> Bird <strong>Population: </strong> Approximately 20 mature individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat degradation due to slash-and-burn agriculture, hunting, and fishing / introduced fish

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Azurina eupalama</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong> Galapagos damsel fish <strong>Category:</strong> Pelagic fish <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Climate Change - oceanographic changes associated with the 1982 / 1983 El Nino are presumed to be responsible for the apparent disappearance of this species from the Galapagos

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Bahaba taipingensis</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong> Giant yellow croaker <strong>Category:</strong> Pelagic fish <strong>Population: </strong> Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Over-fishing, primarily due to value of swim-bladder for traditional medicine - cost per kilogram exceeded that of gold in 2001

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Batagur baska</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong> Common Batagur/ Four-toed terrapin <strong>Category:</strong> Turtle <strong>Population: </strong> Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Illegal export and trade from Indonesia to China

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> Bazzania bhutanica <strong>Common Name: </strong>None <strong>Category:</strong> Liverwort <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat degradation and destruction due to forest clearance, overgrazing and development

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Beatragus hunteri</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Hirola <strong>Category:</strong> Antelope <strong>Population: </strong> < 1000 individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat loss and degradation, competition with livestock, poaching

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Bombus franklinii</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Franklin's Bumble Bee <strong>Category:</strong> Bee <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Disease from commercially bred bumblebees and habitat destruction and degradation

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> Brachyteles hypoxanthus <strong>Common Name: </strong> Northern muriqui <strong>Category:</strong> Primate <strong>Population: </strong> < 1,000 individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat loss and fragmentation due to large-scale deforestation and selective logging

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Bradypus pygmaeus</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Pygmy sloth <strong>Category:</strong> Sloth <strong>Population: </strong> < 500 individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat loss due to illegal logging of mangrove forests for firewood and construction and hunting of the sloths

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Callitriche pulchra</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>None <strong>Category:</strong> Freshwater plant <strong>Population: </strong> Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Exploitation of the species' habitat by stock, and modification of the pool by local people

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Calumma tarzan</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Tarzan's Chameleon <strong>Category:</strong> Chameleon <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat destruction for agriculture

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Cavia intermedia</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Santa Catarina's Guinea Pig <strong>Category:</strong> Guinea Pig <strong>Population: </strong> 40-60 individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat disturbance and possible hunting; small population effects

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Cercopithecus roloway</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Roloway Guenon <strong>Category:</strong> Primate <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Hunting for consumption as bushmeat, and habitat loss

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Coleura seychellensis</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Seychelles Sheath-Tailed Bat <strong>Category:</strong> Bat <strong>Population: </strong> < 100 mature individuals (est 2008) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat degradation and predation by invasive species

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Cryptomyces maximus</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>None <strong>Category:</strong> Fungus <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Limited availability of habitat

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Cryptotis nelsoni</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Nelson's Small-Eared Shrew <strong>Category:</strong> Shrew <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> habitat loss due to logging cattle grazing, fire and agriculture

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Cyclura collei</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Jamaican Iguana <strong>Category:</strong> Iguana <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Predation by introduced species and habitat destruction

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Dendrophylax fawcettii</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Cayman Islands Ghost Orchid <strong>Category:</strong> Orchid <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat destruction due to infrastructure development

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Diomedea amsterdamensis</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Amsterdam Island Albatross <strong>Category:</strong> Bird <strong>Population: </strong>100 mature individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Disease and incidental capture in long-line fishing operations

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Diospyros katendei</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong> None <strong>Category:</strong> Tree <strong>Population: </strong>20 individuals, one population <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> High pressure from communities for agricultural activity, illegal tree felling, habitat degradation due to alluvial gold digging and small population

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Dipterocarpus lamellatus</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>None <strong>Category:</strong> Dipterocarp (tree) <strong>Population: </strong>12 individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat loss and degradation due to logging of lowland forest and creation of industrial plantations

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Discoglossus nigriventer</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong> Hula painted frog <strong>Category:</strong> Frog <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (recent rediscovery in 2011) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Predation by birds and range restriction due to habitat destruction

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Discorea strydomiana</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Wild Yam <strong>Category:</strong> Yam <strong>Population: </strong>200 Individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Collection for medicinal use

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Dombeya mauritiana</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>None <strong>Category:</strong> Flowering plant <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat degradation and destruction due to encroachment by alien invasive plant species and cannabis cultivation

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Eleocarpus bojeri</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>None <strong>Category:</strong> Flowering plant <strong>Population: </strong> < 10 individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Small population and degraded habitat

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Eleutherodactylus glandulifer</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>La Hotte Glanded Frog <strong>Category:</strong> Frog <strong>Population: </strong>Unknown (declining) <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat destruction due to charcoal production and slash-and-burn agriculture

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Eriosyce chilensis</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Chilenito <strong>Category:</strong> Cactus <strong>Population: </strong> < 500 individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Collection of flowering individuals

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Erythrina schliebenii</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Coral Tree <strong>Category:</strong> Flowering tree <strong>Population: </strong> < 50 individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Limited habitat and small population size increasing vulnerability to stochastic events

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Euphorbia tanaensis</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>None <strong>Category:</strong> Semi-deciduous tree <strong>Population: </strong>4 mature individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Illegal logging and habitat degradation due to agricultural expansion and infrastructure development

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Eurynorhynchus pygmeus</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Spoon-Billed Sandpiper <strong>Category:</strong> Bird <strong>Population: </strong> < 100 breeding pairs <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Trapping on wintering grounds and land reclamation.

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Ficus katendei</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>None <strong>Category:</strong> Tree (ficus) <strong>Population: </strong> < 50 mature individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Agricultural activity, illegal tree felling and habitat degradation due to alluvial gold digging

  • <strong>Scientific Name:</strong> <em>Geronticus eremita</em> <strong>Common Name: </strong>Northern Bald Ibis <strong>Category:</strong> Bird <strong>Population: </strong>200-249 mature individuals <strong>Threats To Survival:</strong> Habitat degradation and destruction, and hunting