Ornithologists identify 66 new bird species in Arunachal

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By: Prafulla Kaman

PASIGHAT (Arunachal Pradesh) May 3: A team of Ornithologists, who recently conducted bird survey in Upper Siang district in Arunachal Pradesh, identified 66 new bird species in the region.

The researchers recorded presence of a total 252 winged species in hill forest of Upper Siang region bordering to China in Arunachal Pradesh, 252 bird species out of which 66 species including Greylag goose, a migratory birds have never been reported from the region.

The number, however, according to Anirban Datta-Roy, one of the three researchers, is “still very less for the area”. He believes there is many more bird species may include in the present bird list if further investigation is conducted. Datta-Roy was accompanied by two others- Vivek Ramachandran and Karthik Teegalapalli in the survey.

As per the report, it is result of a six-year long research (2010 – 2016) in geographies that fell outside the boundaries of the “protected areas.” The results have thrown up 252 bird species, out of which 66 have been recorded for the first time. The list also includes six globally threatened species.

“We looked the hilly area managed by the indigenous Adi tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. These were community-managed forests in villages like Bomdo, as well as remote villages like Ramsing, Karko, Simong, Janbo and Gelling along Indo-China border”, said Datta-Roy, who is pursuing his PhD for Research in Ecology and Environment.

The study revealed the existence of nine species of cuckoos (Asian Emerald, Common Hawk, and Drongo, among others) and migrating waterfowl (Greylag Goose, Common Teal, Northern Pintail, Little Grebe and Mallard), which had not been reported earlier.

Their paper on the recent finding- “An annotated checklist of the birds of the Upper Siang region, Arunachal Pradesh, India” published in the “Journal of Threatened Taxa” on April 26, however, is one of the most extensive surveys of this nature in the region.

The paper also builds a strong case for the traditional practice of shifting cultivation in the region.

“The biodiversity is richer in areas with shifting cultivation as compared to monoculture plantations,” said Datta-Roy while adding that shifting cultivation is intrinsically related to rich biodiversity that will help in building a case against it.

Siang region in Eastern Arunachal including Upper Siang, Siang, East Siang and twin Dibang Valley district in Himalayan region falls in Dihang Dibang Biosphere Reserve, which is known as a butterfly hot spot. The natural flora and fauna endowed with evergreen forests and numerous hilly streams provides perfect ecosystem to support survival of various winged species, bovines, primates and reptiles and excruciating insects.(Photo: -Anirban Datta-Roy).

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