Threatened bird species sighted in Rajasthan - Hindustan Times
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Threatened bird species sighted in Rajasthan

Hindustan Times | ByAabshar H Quazi, Kota
Aug 16, 2017 08:56 PM IST

Manish Arya, a bird watcher and a treasurer of the Hadauti Naturalist Society (HNS), has sighted bristled grassbird in Bandha Dharampura area of Kota city.

A threatened bird species has been spotted in parts of Rajasthan, including Kota, which are not its traditional habitat.

A bristled grassbird that was spotted in Kota recently.(HT Photo)
A bristled grassbird that was spotted in Kota recently.(HT Photo)

Manish Arya, a bird watcher and a treasurer of the Hadauti Naturalist Society (HNS), has sighted bristled grassbird in Bandha Dharampura area of Kota city.

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“Sight of bristled grassbird in Kota is surprising since it is a bird of grasslands usually found in Odisha, West Bengal, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh,” Arya told HT.

“I have spotted a pair of bristled grassbirds in Kota which may be breeding as well since the breeding period of this bird stretches from May to September.”

Bristled grassbird falls under the ‘vulnerable’ category of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said Manoj Kulshreshtha, a bird expert from Jaipur and a life member of the Bombay Naturalist Society. He had sighted bristled grassbird in Sonkhlia area of Ajmer in 2015.

Grasslands in Sonkhlia and Kota could have attracted the birds, he said. Such birds move towards peninsular and eastern parts of India in winter, and many breed in northern marshy grasslands in the south of the Himalayas.

“Spotting of grassbirds in Rajasthan shows signs of their breeding in parts of the state,” Kulshreshtha claimed.

Grassbirds, equal to a common babbler in size (6- 7 inches), are seen at the top of grass clumps; they have bristles -- short, stiff hair -- between their eyes and beaks which help them protect their eyes while diving in grasslands to pick insects for feed.

“The male bird has a peculiar aerial display; it goes up over a grass top about a metre in a zig-zag manner and then comes down as a parachute, making a distinct sound of chwee-chew,” said RS Tomar, secretary of HNS, Kota.

Shrinking of wetlands with tall grass has hit the population of grassbirds. “This bird is habitat-dependent; if marshes are not reclaimed, the bird’s existence will face serious threat like the already endangered Great Indian Bustard,” said Kulshreshtha.

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