New Bird Species Discovered in Eastern Nepal

It isn’t every day that ornithologists can claim to have discovered a new species of bird, but that is exactly what is happening in eastern Nepal. A team of ornithologists, who are affiliated with Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN), has recorded the new species and labeled it ‘Syke’s Nightjar’. The BCN is an authorized ornithological body that is devoted to the keeping of accurate records related to bird conservation in Nepal.

Though the bird was first sighted on the banks of the Koshi River about three kilometers south of the Koshi Barrage at the beginning of this year, it was only officially approved by the Nepal Rare Birds Committee (NRBC) recently. In fact, it took approximately five months to have the identification and sighting of the new bird species verified. The latest sighting of this bird was made at the famous Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve in Nepal. The new find is one of five species of nightjar which can be found in the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve. However, it would seem that this is not the bird’s primary home. The Syke’s Nightjar visits Nepal occasionally from Pakistan, south-central China and northwest India in small numbers. It breeds in these other countries and then returns to Nepal at other times of the year.

Ornithologists generally classify nightjars as small or medium-sized birds that have long pointed wings. Their mouths usually gape open and feature long bristles that are able to catch insects in flight. Their plumage is cryptically patterned and soft like that of an owl. The birds are also nocturnal and crepuscular and the Sykes Nightjar fits all of these specifications. In fact the new bird has been noted as belonging to the Caprimulgidae family and its scientific name is Caprimulgus mahrattensis. Most of the locals, however, call it an “Apurva Chaita Chara”. Confirmation of this exciting new find came at the perfect time since it arrived on the eve of World Environment Day. The discovery of the Syke’s Nightjar brings the total number of bird species recorded in Nepal to 863. That is a whopping 9 % of the total bird population in the world found in this tiny corner of the globe.