Kathmandu, Mar. 22: A new species of bird ‘Black-breasted Thrush’ has been recorded for the first time in Nepal. A team of ornithologists recorded the bird at Sukrabare, Danabari in Mai Municipality of Ilam at 4:05 pm on March 9.
A male of the bird, which falls under the group of Chahar, was verified by Nepal Bird Record Committee (NBRC) on Monday. A team including Carol Inskipp, ornithologist and co-author of Birds of Nepal, Nepali ornithologist Tikaram Giri, president of Koshi Bird Society and Executive Member of Nepalese Ornithological Union Sanjib Acharya recorded the bird in Ilam.
Phinju Sherpa, a guide from the Red Panda Network, also got the chance to see the new bird, team member Sanjib Acharya informed. According to ornithologist Dr. Hem Sagar Baral, the record was genuine. “There might be two reasons for discovering new species of bird in Nepal. One is that they might have lost their way and come here and another is they are expanding their range. Few birds can expand their range,” Dr. Baral said.
Ornithologist and NBRC chairman Dr. Tulsi Subedi said that the bird was verified on Monday with a lot of clarifications and discussions. Even though the bird was recorded almost two weeks ago, it took time to verify it as a new species, he added. With this, the number of birds in Nepal has reached 890.
The Black-breasted Thrush, scientifically called Turdus dissimilis, is 22–23·5 cm in size. According to Acharya, the male Black-breasted Thrush is black from the head to nape to breast. Rest of its upper parts are slate grey and it is orange on belly and flanks and white on the lower belly to vent. Its legs are orange-yellow. Female is grey-brown from head below the eye to tail. Juvenile of this bird is physically as the female but finely spotted and streaked on the head to scapulars. The behaviour of the bird during the observation was found to be foraging and hopping inside scrub and coming to open areas without hesitation.
The bird is found in North-East India Myanmar, North-west Thailand, South China, North Laos and North Vietnam. Acharya said that the nearest record was made at Gorumara National Park, Jalpaiguri which is 100km east of the Indo-Nepal border.
The species of bird breeds in oak and conifer forest including open pine woods and broadleaf evergreen forest at 1200–2500 metre altitude. Rather solitary in nature, this bird feeds on molluscs and berries and forages mainly on the ground, but also visits fruiting trees.