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Updated: February 15, 2013 03:54 IST

20 species of rare birds spotted in squirrel sanctuary

P. Oppili
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A Rufous-bellied Hawk Eagle seen at high altitude in the Grizzled Giant Squirrel Sanctuary in Srivilliputhur.
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A Rufous-bellied Hawk Eagle seen at high altitude in the Grizzled Giant Squirrel Sanctuary in Srivilliputhur.

In a survey held at Grizzled Giant Squirrel Sanctuary

Twenty species of rare, endemic and migrant birds have been recorded in the Grizzled Giant Squirrel Sanctuary in Srivilliputhur during a recently concluded bird survey.

S. Chandrasekaran, Member of the Bombay Natural History Society, who was part of the survey, said the rare endemic species included Sri Lankan Frogmouth, Mountain and Rufous-bellied Hawk Eagles, Great Indian and Malabar Pied Hornbills, Mountain and green imperial pigeons. These species were found only in the high altitudes of Western Ghats.

Steppe Eagle, Eurasian Sparrowhawk and Bluecapped Rockthrush were some of the rare migrants recorded in the sanctuary during the survey, Mr. Chandrasekaran said.

A total of 10 camps were pitched in the four ranges of the sanctuary — Watrap, Saptur, Srivilliputhur and Rajapalayam — for the survey, which was held on December 23 and 24 last year. Each camp had an ornithologist assisted by a few students from local colleges along with two forest guards/watchers.

The camp sights were selected in such a way that all kinds of habitats were covered during the survey and the locations also had some place to stay during the night hours, he said.

The survey was divided into three sessions — two on December 23 and one on 24. The data was mainly collected for statistical analysis and to estimate the abundance of bird species in the sanctuary. However, the participants were allowed to record birds sighted during other times, which would help in preparing a checklist, said T.S. Subramania Raja of the Wildlife Association of Rajapalayam, which organised the survey.

Talking about the sighting of rare and endemic birds, Mr. Subramania Raja said great-pied and Malabar hornbills were sighted in Deviyar estate in the Rajapalayam Range of the sanctuary. The Sri Lankan Frogmouth was sighted in Kaatazhagar Koil in the sanctuary. The migrants such as Rufous-bellied Hawk eagle and Mountain Hawk eagles were sighted in Deviyar estate in Rajapalayam range in the sanctuary, he said.

Mr. Subramania Raja said: “This is the first ever bird survey done in the sanctuary, nestling in the leeward side of the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala. The survey also helped in understanding the bird ecology in the sanctuary, which needed to be provided more protection.”

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