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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

Usually found at Himalaya foothills, Lesser Fish-eagle spotted in city

delhi Updated: Oct 08, 2019 23:24 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustantimes
         

A new bird was added on Tuesday to the list of over 450 species of birds Delhi can boast of. Birders in the city are excited about the sighting of a Lesser Fish-eagle, a “near threatened” species whose habitat in India is known to be restricted to the Himalayan foothills and parts of Karnataka.

Surya Prakash, a zoologist from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and an ardent birder, spotted the bird at Sanjay Van along with other birders. “This is probably the first confirmed spotting of the bird from Delhi. Although Yogesh Parashar (another birder) saw one fleetingly, but with no details. That was also in October. Sightings have been reported from Corbett and from Ranthambore. So, one can very well say this is the first photo documentation from Delhi,” said Surya Prakash.

“The Lesser Fish-eagle is normally found in the foothills of the Himalayas and is a vagrant to Delhi. The sighting shows how the habitats are changing and the ranges are now expanding. Also, birding now being a very popular hobby , there are more birdwatchers on the field than ever before,” said Nikhil Devasar, a birder and author.

“This is not just the habitat for Lesser Fish-eagle. It’s a forest bird. It’s never been seen in Delhi. This is a very significant sighting because even in the wild they are getting rare,” said Bikram Grewal, birder and author.

The bird doesn’t figure in “Atlas of Birds of Delhi and Haryana” published in 2006 and many other birding books for Delhi, according to Grewal.

According to Birdlife International, it frequents large forested rivers and wetlands in the lowlands and foothills up to 2,400 m, but usually below 1,000 m.

“Loss of forest habitat along rivers, siltation, over-fishing and increasing human disturbance of waterways are causing widespread declines. It is also declining in Uttar Pradesh, India, partly because of pesticide use…” says Birdlife International on its website.

According to International Union for Conservation of Nature, there are 10,000 to 50,000 of them and their population is on the decline.

First Published: Oct 08, 2019 23:24 IST

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