Officials have confirmed a claim by two ornthologists that they spotted a bird belonging to a species previously unreported in Nepal, at Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, Sunsari.
A White-shouldered Starling, Sturnus sinensis, was sighted amongst a flock of Chestnut-tailed Starlings at the north-eastern part of the wildlife reserve, the ornithologists said.
Suchit Basnet, chair of the panel of Nepali experts on species identification and taxonomy, confirmed that the species is new to Nepal and also updated the total bird species count to 868.
According to Nepal Rare Birds Committee (NRBC), a body that authenticates such sightings, the new bird was first spotted on September 26, 2010 by Nepalese Ornithological Union experts Badri Chaudhary and Anish Timsina, along with other enthusiasts in the area: Dhiraj Chaudhary and Krishna Bidari.
The size of this newly found starling is similar to Chestnut-tailed Starling, the smallest member of its family in Nepal, said NRBC. It measures 17-20 cm in length and weighs about 61 grammes. The bird’s beak and legs are black in colour. The lower part of its body is white and the upper throat is grey.
“The bird was sighted for four days and details carefully noted. A photo, although of poor quality, was also taken. It was later reviewed by experts,” reported the NRBC.
Chaudhary and Timsina opined that the Koshi Tappu, where 492 species of birds have already been recorded, needs to be conserved so that more species can be recorded.
Dr Hem Sagar Baral, senior ornithologist at Himalayan Nature and a member of the committee, said Koshi Tappu was one of the finest ornithological sites in Asia. “We must understand that the birds’ habitats are being threatened by anthropogenic disturbances,” he said.
(Source: The Himalayantimes: Published on The Himalayan times on July 2)