BNHS team records rare bird species in forests of Arunachal

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Aurangabad, Apr 8 (PTI) A team of scientists from the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) have discovered the three-banded rosefinch, a rare bird species, in the high- altitude coniferous forests of Arunachal Pradesh.

This is a first confirmed report of the species from Arunachal Pradesh and is a new addition to the list of birds in India, research team leader Dr Girish Jathar said in a release on Thursday.

The BNHS team, which was exploring the forests, photographed the birds on February 8 and identified them as three-banded rosefinch after detailed observations, he said.

Three-banded rosefinches are predominantly found in southern China and Bhutan.

As per the release, the team recently published its findings in the journal 'Indian Birds' last month.

The research team led by Dr Jathar, the assistant director of BNHS, is conducting intensive surveys of finches across the eastern Himalayas.

During one of these surveys, researchers Atharva Singh and Himadri Shekar Mondal first photographed a male and a female bird of this species at Sela Pass, Arunachal Pradesh, at an altitude of 3,852 metre above sea level, the release states.

This pair was seen with a flock of white-browed rosefinch, a species commonly seen in this landscape.

The species belongs to the family of finch, Fringillidae, which are seed-eating passerine birds with a distinctively conical bill, Dr Jathar said.

According to Singh, the lead author of the paper, three-banded rosefinch may be using the high-altitude temperate coniferous forest of Arunachal Pradesh as a passage while migrating from China to Bhutan.

Thus, this landscape is a potential corridor for this species.

Mondal, who is the second author of this paper, said little information is available on the ecology of this species.

The altitudinal record of this species sighting from India is higher than its previous known altitudinal records from China, said Dr Jathar, who is leading Climate Change and Himalayas Programme at BNHS.

This opens up an interesting ecological research on the species in the future, he said.

As per the release, at least 1,340 species have been reported in India and with the advent of technology and enthusiastic birders reaching remote areas, several species have been reported from India each year.

Since 2016, India's bird list expanded with the addition of 104 new species, he said.

In 2021, five new species, including three-banded rosefinch, have been added to the list, Dr Jathar added. PTI AW ARU ARU