Researchers at the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands recently recorded two new species of birds — the Great Short-Toed Lark and the Blue and White Flycatcher.

K. Venkataraman, Director, ZSI, told The Hindu that the first bird was sighted in December last year in the Landfall Island Wildlife Sanctuary, where a sparrow-sized bird was found foraging on the sand. The bird was photographed to confirm the identity.

Dr. Venkataraman said earlier there was no record of this bird in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. However, it was recorded in Southern Myanmar which was published in the book The Birds of Burma in 1953. This yielded some interesting information about the migration pattern of this bird.

During their survey, the ZSI authorities sighted the bird in the southern seashore of Landfall Island that was devastated by the 2004 tsunami.

The Blue and White Flycatcher, Dr. Venkataraman said, is a migratory bird and breeds north east of China, south east of Russia and in North Korea. The bird was sighted in the Saddle Peak National Park in North Andaman. The team of researchers from the ZSI could not identify the bird immediately. A reference to the field guides helped establish its identity. Available records show that some winter migrants, while returning home, take a sojourn to various islands of the Andaman and Nicobar.

Dr. Venkataraman said this was the first and authentic record of the presence of this species in the Indian territory.