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Species: Bhutan is now home to 699 birds with the recent discovery of four birds, Jacobin Cuckoo (clamator jacobinus), Stork-billed Kingfisher (pelargopsis capensis), Greater Sand Plover (charadrius leschenaultii) and Little Owl (athene noctua).

Four new birds discovered in Bhutan

Species: Bhutan is now home to 699 birds with the recent discovery of four birds, Jacobin Cuckoo (clamator jacobinus), Stork-billed Kingfisher (pelargopsis capensis), Greater Sand Plover (charadrius leschenaultii) and Little Owl (athene noctua).

The discovery of these four new specimens comes two months after Bhutan listed to its record the Beautiful Sibia (heterophasia pulchella) and Brown Accentor (prunella fulvescens) in August. Bhutan also recorded Common Moorhen (gallinula chloropus) and Burmese Shrike (lanius Collurioides) in January and April respectively.

“The total number of birds in Bhutan has reached 700 as per my database,” Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE) ornithologist, Sherub said.

While Sherub discovered Greater Sand Plover, Lhamoizingkha range office foresters, Rinchen Tshewang and Nim Tshering Tamang found the Jacobin Cuckoo.

Jigme Dorji National Park forester Phub Dorji and Thimphu territorial division’s ranger, Yeejay found the Stork-billed Kingfisher. The Little Owl was discovered and first photographed by Jigme Khesar Strict Nature Reserve ranger, Gyaltshen Dorji and forester, Wangchuk from a ridge in Nub Tshonapatra, Haa recently.

Although some of these birds were photographed in the past, all four were identified as new record recently when the foresters submitted their individual photographs for bird apps to UWICE. Sherub had spotted the Greater Sand Plover sometime back but learnt it’s a new species only recently.

Larger and lankier than Lesser Sand Plover, the larger billed and paler longer yellowish or greenish tinged legged Greater Sand Plover is a winter visitor to Indian coast.

Rinchen Tshewang and Nim Tshering Tamang spotted Jacobin Cuckoo on September 21 this year in Lhamoizingkha, which shares the border with West Bengal, India.

The crested black and white, Jacobin Cuckoo is an African migrant bird, which is resident and a partial migrant in India. It has a white patch at the base of primaries and prominent white tips at the tail and feathers.

“While Jacobin Cuckoo migrates to Asia from Africa and it’s a common sight in India; but we didn’t know it was a new discovery in Bhutan,” Rinchen Tshewang said. “We asked help from Sherub in identification and confirmed it as a new record.”

Phub Dorji and Yeejay spotted the Stork-billed Kingfisher in Phuentsholing by the Toorsa river in 2013. The duo also came to know about the bird being a new discovery only through a confirmation from UWICE recently during a photo submission for the bird application.

Large and huge coral-red billed with brownish cap, the Stork-billed Kingfisher is adorned by pale orange-buff collar and under-parts with blues green upper parts and is a widespread resident in India.

Royal Manas National Park’s senior ranger, Dorji Wangchuk said the new species are being discovered in Bhutan because even if it’s a new species, birders often overlook its distinct features.

“It is also because it’s a migrant bird, discovery couldn’t have been made within that short period of migration,” Dorji Wangchuk said.

Sandy coloured with white spectacles and throat shaded with white spotting under-parts, Little Owl is resident to Baluchistan and trans-Himalayas living on cliffs and ruins in semi-desert. It was recorded only recently in Bhutan.

Tempa Wangdi, Tingtibi

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