Friday, 1 December, 2023

Over 150 types of winter migratory birds come to Nepal


By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Nov. 28: Around 150 species of winter migratory birds have arrived in Nepal to avoid extremely cold winter in the Northern hemisphere.
The winged guests have been travelling to Nepal every year especially from Central Asia, Tibet, China, Korea, Mongolia and Siberia, said Dr. Hem Sagar Baral, a prominent ornithologist of Nepal.
“We do not know the exact number of the species that have flocked our country. Practically, it is not possible to count them accurately,” he said.
Nepal is home to about nine per cent of the total bird species found worldwide. So far, 886 species of birds have been recorded in the country, out of which 42 species are globally endangered.
The peak migration time is from mid-September to late October, and they continue to make Nepal their home until the end of November.
There are mostly two kinds of migratory birds that come to the country -- wetland birds and terrestrial birds. The terrestrial birds can also be divided into two sub-groups -- forest and grassland birds.
“We usually count only wetland birds, whose arrival begins from January. Numbers are placed on other kinds of migratory birds based on assumption after tallying them with the locally available species,” said Baral.
Among the various birds that fly to Nepal are Mallard, Ruddy Shelduck, Gadwall, Eurasian teal, Greenshank, Thrush, Fly Catcher and Booted Eagle, among others.
Jagadishpur reservoir in Kapilvastu, Ghodaghodi Lake in Kailali, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, Karnali, Narayani and Koshi rivers, particularly play host to most of these winged migrants.
A new bird species by the name Tundra Bean Goose was spotted at Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve this winter season, which migrated all the way from freezing Siberia. With the discovery of this bird, the number of bird species at Koshi Tappu has reached 531, said Sanjib Acharya, President of Koshi Bird Society.
Earlier, the bird was also spotted in Chitwan and Pokhara. Migration destination for the Tundra Bean Goose is said to be Europe but bird watchers believe that it was intercepted midway and brought here in Nepal after mixing up with the flock of winter migratory birds arriving in Nepal.
In between the lockdown, some rare species like Eurasian Curlew and Kentish Plover, were spotted in Kathmandu Valley. Similarly, Whimbrel, another species, was seen for the first time in Dailekh district in Karnali State and Black-Capper Kingfisher was spotted in Koshi Tappu of State 1 after a gap of more than 20 years.
“More new birds have been sighted in the last few months, perhaps because of an increase in the number of exploration photographers who are utilising the lockdown to watch for new, exotic species of migratory birds,” added Acharya.