KATHMANDU, May 14 - A team of Nepalese ornithologists studying birds of Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve (KTWR) have identified a new bird species for the country known as the Daurian Redstart recently. With this new bird in the register, Nepal now boasts a high total of 864 species of bird in the country
On a bird-watching trip to KTWR, ornithologists Tika Giri and Barry McCarthy located the bird for the first time in the country in one of the islands of Koshi River on 25 December 2008.
Suchit Basnet, an ornithologist and Chair of Nepal Rare Birds Committee said, the newly identified bird species has been spotted at least five times between December 2008 and March 2009 inside KTWR.
According to Dr Hem Sagar Baral, senior ornithologist of the country, this bird may be a regular winter visitor to east Nepal especially in the Khair and Sissoo forested islands in Koshi River between Koshi Tappu and Chatara.
A team led by Baral including Suchit Basnet, Badri Chaudhary, Som GC, Bishnu Mahato and Anish Timsina made further study on this bird after it was first spotted in December inside KTWR.
He further informed that the bird found in Nepal is likely to be subspecies leucopterus which breeds in China and some parts of Russia. This species is also known to occur in India, China, Myanmar, Japan and few south-east Asian countries during winter.
To the scientific community the bird is known as Phoenicurus auroreus. The bird forms part of a large bird family known as Muscicapidae, Baral said.
The male bird has slate grey crown, nape and upper back while the center of back is black. It has black wings with prominent white patch while female bird is olive-brown in upper parts with tail and rump are rufous, a buffy eye ring and a distinct cream-coloured wing patch. The under parts are generally fulvous to ochre-brown in colour. Female of this bird is easily separated from females of other species by white wing patch.
Experts believe that this species may be a winter visitor in Nepal and the habitat of the bird may not have been surveyed properly in the past. "There is a need of further surveys for habitats of these newly found bird species," Basnet said