- A Chinese pond heron (Ardeola bacchus) has been spotted for the first time in Nepal, bringing the total number of bird species known to occur in the country to 891.
- Photographers Raju Tamang and Prem Bomjan snapped a picture of the bird in Chitwan National Park, which is better known for its Bengal tigers and greater one-horned rhinos.
- Of the total 891 species, 650 have been found in Chitwan, which hosts important bird habitats, ranging from grasslands to hills to wetlands.
KATHMANDU — The list of bird species found in Nepal has now grown to 891, after a bird never before seen in the country was spotted at a national park in the south.
Photographers Raju Tamang and Prem Bomjan snapped a picture of the Chinese pond heron (Ardeola bacchus) in Chitwan National Park, better known for its Bengal tigers and greater one-horned rhinos.
“I found the bird early morning on June 1,” said Tamang, adding he enjoys going on morning walks around the national park area photographing the birds.
“I saw the bird on a farm and thought it was an Indian pond heron, which looks similar,” he told Mongabay. “But I thought something was amiss as its neck was unusually red and I came back to have another look. When I tried to take a photo, it flew to a nearby tree.”
Tamang said he then called his friend and fellow photographer Bomjan.
As word spread about the bird, locals spotted it again on June 7.
The Chinese pond heron is typically found in wetland areas in China and parts of Southeast Asia.
“We have verified the image and confirmed that it is a Chinese pond heron,” said Tulsi Subedi, chair of the Nepal Bird Record Committee under the Nepal Ornithological Union.
In 2018, the union, working with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Reserves, drew up a list of birds known to occur in Nepal. It contained 886 species. Five more species were recorded in the country since then, including the Chinese pond heron, said Mannshanta Ghimire, a member of the record committee.
Of the total 891 species, 650 have been found in Chitwan.
Although the national park is better known for its tigers and rhinos, it’s equally important for birds, says ornithologist Hem Katwal. “Chitwan has a variety of habitats for birds such as grasslands, farmlands, plains, hills and even wetlands,” he told Mongabay. “The Chinese pond heron prefers wetlands found abundantly in Chitwan,” he added.
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