Fresh count finds 26 new bird species in Shuklaphanta National parkA recently released report states that a total of 450 bird species, including 23 endangered species, can be spotted in the national park.
The recently released report of the fresh bird species count has revealed 26 additional bird species in Shuklaphanta, the country’s second youngest national park in Kanchanpur district. With this, a total of 450 bird species are found in the protected area.
The bird count held early this year spotted 26 new bird species, including glossy ibis, great grey babbler, white-tailed lapwing, maroon oriole, great bitten, white-capped water redstart and black-tailed godwit, among others. According to a bird count conducted in 2012, there were 424 bird species in Shuklaphanta.
The national park made public the bird count report on Monday by launching a book with details on the new species.
According to Laxman Prasad Paudel, chief conservation officer at the park, 23 out of the 450 bird species in the park are in the endangered list. “The endangered bird species like Kharmajur (Bengal florican), Sano Majur and Sarus crane, among others, can be spotted here.
“Shuklaphanta has been recognised as a major bird-watching destination in the country. The ponds and rivers in the area are full of migratory Siberian birds in the winter,” said Paudel. The Shuklaphanta grassland, Ranital, the Chaudhar river and the Mahakali river are the major habitats of birds in the conservation area, he added.
Birdwatchers from across the country and abroad come in droves to Shuklaphanta for the variety of bird species it hosts. “Some tourists stay as long as a week to watch birds in Shuklaphanta. They enjoy bird watching from dawn to dusk,” said Kum Karan Rana, a nature guide in the area. “Earlier, tourists would mainly visit the area to see deer, tigers and rhinos. Of late, we have bird enthusiasts making their way to the park.”
Besides 450 bird species, the park is home to more than 2,000 swamp deer, 17 tigers, as many rhinos, 12 species of reptiles, 20 species of amphibians, 24 fish species and 35 species of butterflies.
In a bid to promote Shuklaphanta as a bird-watching destination, the national park has been launching several programmes in the area. The park organises bird-watching programmes every Friday, in which locals and the park employees enjoy bird watching. “We organise these programmes so that the park employees and the locals can learn more about the birds we host in the park. It will also raise awareness about the importance of bird conservations,” said Paudel.