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11 new bird species seen for first time in Kerala’s Periyar Tiger Reserve

Representational image. For the first time Kashmir flycatcher was seen in Periyar Tiger Reserve during a four-day survey of the birds (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@cwsindia)

It was celebration time at Kerala’s popular Periyar Tiger Reserve as the State Forest Department after a four-day bird survey identified the presence of 231 species of birds of which 11 had never been recorded before.

Among the species found, 20 were endemic to the Western Ghats while 14 belong to the endangered category.

As per P.J. Shuhaib, Assistant Field Director, during the survey they spotted two Kashmir Flycatchers in the PTR for the first time. Breeding in north-west Himalayas, these birds migrate to central Sri Lanka hills and Western Ghats during winter.

Other birds seen for the first time in the reserve include little grebe, black headed ibis, cinnamon bittern, white eyed buzzard, greater spotted eagle, Indian roller, mottled wood owl, Siberian stonechat and yellow crowned woodpecker and of these many are endangered species.

Apart from this, seven orange-breasted green pigeons, native to tropical Asia south of the Himalayas were also found. Usually, these birds flock to Tamil Nadu and their presence in PTR suggests climate change.

Orange breasted green pigeon
Representational image. Orange breasted green pigeon, native of Himalayas was also found in the reserve (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@passivelyactive)

Among the endangered varieties, the survey discovered white bellied shola bird, night wood pigeon, great hornbill, Malabar parakeet, Malabar grey hornbill, pallid harrier, grey-headed bulbul, Palani laughing thrush, Nilgiri flycatcher, black and orange flycatcher, rufous-bellied eagle and green imperial pigeon.

The team which coordinated the survey included P.P. Pramod, Chief Conservator, Patil Suyog Subhash Rao, PTR East Division Deputy Director, P.J. Shuhaib, Assistant Field Director, Ramesh Babu and Anoop Vijayakumar, P.O. Nameer, a scientist and Premchand Reghuvaran and Ahmed Omar, bird watchers.