The Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, the Great Indian Pied Hornbill, the Rock Bush Quail, the Red-winged Crested Cuckoo and the Malabar Parakeet were among the 169 species of birds spotted in a three-day survey conducted in the Shenduruni Wildlife Sanctuary by the Thiruvananthapuram-based nature lovers' group Warblers and Waders along with the Forest Department.
The survey was conducted from March 12 to 14. Direct sightings of birds and identification of calls were the methods used to finalise the data. ‘Peak observation' of birds was done during 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Last year, 165 species were recorded at Shenduruni.
According to C. Susanth, a group member, significant sightings included those of the Great Black Woodpecker, the Broad-billed Roller, the Blue-bearded Bee-eater, the Red winged Crested Cuckoo, the Indian Black Crested Baza, the Lesser Fishing Eagle, the Malay Bittern, the Open bill Stork and the Black-naped Oriole.
Of the 16 species endemic to the Western Ghats, 13 were recorded during the current survey. The endemic endangered and threatened (EET) species observed include the Malabar Grey Hornbill, the Nilgiri Flycatcher, the White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, the Grey headed Bulbul, the Small sunbird, the Grey-breasted laughing Thrush and the Rufous babbler.
Some birds were conspicuous by their absence in the survey data: the Red Spurfowl, the Drongo Cuckoo, the Lesser Coucal, the Long-tailed Nightjar, the Grasshopper Warbler, and the Painted Bush Quail. The last two surveys did not also record the presence of a common nocturnal bird, the Brown Fish Owl, Mr. Susanth said.
For the purpose of the survey, the Sanctuary was divided into 5 sections: Kattilappara, Rockwood, Umayar, Rosemala and Pandimotta. The survey at these base camps were led by ornithologists K.A. Kishore, C.G. Kiran, K.B. Sanjayan, A.K. Shivakumar and C. Harikumar who were assisted by 22 birdwatchers from all over the state.
The highest bird presence—126 species—was recorded at Kattillappara, Mr. Susanth said. The lowest numbers were recorded at Pandimotta-60 species. While 83 species were recorded at Rockwood, 90 species were recorded at Umayar and 91 at Rosemala.
The Great Indian Pied Hornbill was sighted only at Rosemala and Rockwood. The numbers sighted were lesser compared to last year's survey.
Surveyors spotted the breeding of the Malabar Trogon, the River Tern, the Small Sunbird and the Ruby throated Bulbul. The significant nesting and breeding recorded during the present survey was that of the Nilgiril Wood Pigeon—an EET species—at Pandimotta, Mr. Susanth added.