Monday, May 27, 2024
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Birders spot two rare parrotbills in Cherrapunjee after 117 years

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From Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, May 1: Two rare black-throated parrotbills often placed with the Old-World babblers were spotted in Cherrapunjee area in Meghalaya after a gap of 117 years.
Two doctors and a physiotherapist from Assam, who are also birders, sighted the rare black-throated parrotbill near Cherrapunji. The trio — Dr Jyotirmay Baishya, a plastic surgeon, Dr Manas Kumar Kalita, a dental surgeon, and Rocky Srivastava, a physiotherapist — was excited by their sighting of the black-throated parrotbill. The last specimen-based sighting was reported from Meghalaya in 1851 by an English zoologist and ornithologist, Edward Blyth.
Although this subspecies sighted has its historical distribution from eastern Himalaya to the south of Manipur and parts of Meghalaya, no sighting has been reported in Meghalaya since Blyth’s record. The trio captured the bird on camera in an undergrowth of the subtropical moist broadleaf forest with a few bamboo patches near Sohra (Cherrapunjee) of the hill state.
Their finding was reported to ‘ebird’ — an international platform for maintaining records regarding sightings, habitats, population and other important information about birds on this planet. The species ranges across Bhutan, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Tibet and Vietnam. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.
According to the three doctor-birders, 10 birds of this species were seen foraging for food. Their tiny size, small parrot-like bill, distinctive black throat patch and vibrant plumage helped in their identification. The black-throated parrotbill, scientific name Suthora nipalensis, is a bird species found in the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent, mostly in the central and eastern Himalayas and nearby Southeast Asia.

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