05 Oct, 2021
Kathmandu, Oct. 5: A new bird species named European Roller (Coracias garrulous) was spotted for the first time in Nepal, confirmed the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC)
The NTNC has recorded the bird ‘European Roller’ which is called "Theuwa" in Nepal and a species of Nilkantha, in Upper Mustang of the Annapurna Conservation Area in Kekighan, Lomanthang Rural Municipality, Ward No. 5, at an altitude of 3,781 metres.
According to the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), the bird was found in Lomanthang and it was the first time that the bird was spotted in the country. With this new bird species recorded, Nepal has now become a home for 889 bird species.
ACAP Lomanthang's staff Ram Bahadur Gurung had first photographed the bird on August 29. A second sighting was recorded again two days later and sent for further verification.
NTNC-ACAP Mustang officer-in-charge, Rishi Baral, started with the identification and verification process thereafter. Identification of the new bird species has also been confirmed by ornithologists Dr. Hem Sagar Baral, Som G.C. Tim Inskipp and Carol Inskipp.
The European Roller is the only member of the roller family of birds, which is the only breed in Europe, said ornithologist Dr. Baral.
“Two species of Roller family -- Indian Roller and Indo-Chinese Roller -- are already found in Nepal and another bird broad-billed roller visits Nepal from South East Asia during summer but the European Roller has been recorded this year for the first time in Nepal,” Dr. Baral informed.
The European Roller's overall range extends into the Middle East, Central Asia and Morocco but it has disappeared from Western Europe. The European Roller is found in a wide variety of habitats, avoiding only treeless plains.
This is one such species whose population has declined due to agricultural intensification. Deforestation, reduced grazing land and the conversion of grassland to other use has resulted in lower quality foraging habitats.
According to Dr. Baral, the species of bird is non-breeding visitor to Nepal. “We have recorded only one bird this year, but more birds might be recorded next year and can be seen in the Terai lowland in the future,” he said.
He said that the average age of the bird is 10 to 12 years and can weigh a maximum of 150 grams. It is mainly blue with an orange-brown back.
Gurung captured the bird for the first time on his camera at 1:11 pm on August 29 thinking that it was a new case for Nepal.
He was on the way to Chhojung Monastery for the feasibility study of an alternative trekking route when he first saw the bird on the boundary wall of a paddy field some 800 metres east of Lomanthang. The second time it was spotted on a peepal tree. The medium-sized bird is slightly larger than a sparrow.
With the latest addition, the Annapurna Conservation Area now has a total of 519 bird species. The Rising Nepal