‘Falcon Capital of the World’ Records 178 Bird Species

The four-day drive organised on 04-07 Nov 2022 comprises 18 eBirders from the north-eastern state of Nagaland, known as the Falcon Capital of the World.

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A recent birding drive – TokhüEmong Bird Count (TEBC), organised in Nagaland during the Tokhü Emong post-harvest festival of the Lotha Nagas, has documented a total of 178 bird species in the state. Birders uploaded 84 checklists to eBird, an online platform to record their observations.

This four-day drive organised on 04-07 Nov 2022 comprises 18 eBirders from the north-eastern state of Nagaland, known as the “Falcon Capital of the World”. Birders from Dimapur, Kohima, Peren, and Wokha districts contributed to the lists. This birding event was organised in collaboration with the Wokha Forest Division and the Divisional Management Unit, Nagaland Forest Management Project (NFMP), Wokha, Nagaland and Bird Count India.

A total of 72 species, including an exciting record of Brown Shrike, was reported on the first day of the drive. Seven species of warblers—Ashy-throated, Buff-barred, Yellow-browed, Dusky, Grey-cheeked, Greenish, and Yellow-bellied Warblers were reported. The second-day drive documented 104 species—32 more than on day one. This included Spot-breasted Parrotbill and three species of partridge—Hill, Rufous-throated, and Mountain Bamboo-Partridge.

Multiple raptors were seen on the second day, which included Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Himalayan Buzzard, Oriental Scops-Owl and Amur Falcon.  Also reported were ten warbler species—Ashy-throated, Buff-barred, Yellow-browed, Greenish, Yellow-bellied, Whistler’s, Blyth’s Leaf, Grey-hooded, Brown Bush, and Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler.

A total of 90 bird species were recorded on the third day of the drive. Asian Barred and Collared Owlet and three species of Scops-Owl—Mountain Scops-Owl, Collared Scops–Owl and Oriental Scops-Owl were documented on the third day. Interestingly, only four of the nine warbler species reported on the third day were also reported on 2nd day. It was a high turnover of species that left birders excited.

On the final day of TEBC, 86 bird species were reported, including three individuals of Black-tailed Crake. Eight species of bulbul – Black-crested, Crested Finchbill, Striated, Red-vented, Red-whiskered, Flavescent, Himalayan Black, Mountain Bulbul; four species of thrush – Long-billed, Black-breasted, Eyebrowed, Blue Whistling-Thrush; and three species of wagtail – Grey, Eastern Yellow, and White Wagtail, were observed on the last day of documentation drive.

“This initiative involves local communities to identify different species that are found in the state. Nagaland is a state with rich bird diversity. It is important to document and monitor bird populations to protect and conserve them,” -said Suman WM Sivachar, IFS, Divisional Forest Officer cum Divisional Management Unit Head, Wokha, Nagaland Forest Department.

An essential part of bird watching is finding and documenting unusual and rare birds in any given area. Birding is a unique enterprise in which birdwatchers contribute crucial information on bird species’ behaviour, distribution, and occurrence to ornithological knowledge. Nagaland birders have documented rich avian diversity during such a drive in this northeastern landlocked state.

The idea of such an event was to get people interested in birds, create awareness and celebrate the rich bird diversity of the state. Such events can help establish a benchmark against which future studies of avian populations can be compared. This is especially important given the widespread effects of climate change in North East India. (India Science Wire)