New bird joins the bird list of Bhutan

Bhutan is considered as one of the top biodiversity hotspots in the world, a tag  befitting of Bhutan’s large forest coverage, which are both rich and intact. Such a provision provides a safe haven for many floral and faunal species to thrive unperturbed.
New and rare species of flora and fauna are being discovered and recorded at a steady pace.  Recently a bird species, not normally found in Bhutan, was sighted in central Bhutan.  The sighting of Sharp-tailed Sandpiper in October this year by the officials of the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature (RSPN) has added to the official number of bird species, which is high as 701, in Bhutan.
The bird was confirmed as new record, which is not recorded earlier of its presence in the country by the ornithologist at Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE) in Bumthang.
An official with RSPN, Tashi Dawa, said that the new bird was sighted in Buli under Zhemgang while conducting biodiversity assessment of Buli wetlands and the footage of the new bird was sent for confirmation to ornithologist, Sherab.
He said that the three officials were unsure about the bird’s record in the Bhutan’s Bird List and the footage of the bird was later sent to UWICE for confirmation.
According to the ornithologist, Sherab, the bird sighted by the RSPN officials is confirmed as a new record to the Bhutan’s Bird List. He said that the bird is a winter visitor which is recorded in the Birds of the Indian sub-continent so far.
He said that the country’s policy, as is evident from the constitutional requirement to maintain 60 percent of the land under forest coverage for all time to come, has always been very conducive for the flora and fauna diversity to thrive.
He further added that the huge altitudinal ranges that rises from tropical forests in the south to the alpine region in the north is one reason why Bhutan is home to a huge collection of flora and fauna which is supplemented by strong political will as well as conservation investment, such that Bhutan has conservationists spread all across.
As per the literature, Sharp-tailed Sandpipers bird resembles the pectoral sandpiper, within whose Asian range it breeds, but differs in its breast pattern, and it has stronger supercilium and more rufous crown.
The breeding adults have rich brown colour with darker feather centres above, and white underneath apart from a buff breast with a light superciliary line above the eye and a chestnut crown.
During the  winter, Sharp-tailed Sandpipers have grey plummage while the  juveniles are brightly patterned above with rufous colouration and white mantle stripes
The birds are known to forage on grasslands and mudflats, like the pectoral sandpiper, picking up food by sight, sometimes by probing and they are also known to feed on insects and other inverterbrates.
Meanwhile, Buli is already home to about 71 species of birds, among which are the sparrows and bulbuls found mostly in the area and the hornbills are found often there.

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