Singing bushlark spotted in Tiruppur district

In what appears to be the first recorded sighting, birdwatchers have spotted a lone singing bushlark (Mirafra cantillans) near the Uppar dam at Dharapuram in Tiruppur district.

A five-member team from Dharapuram Nature Society spotted the bird on a grassland about four km away from the dam. One of the members R. Magesh said that they spotted the singing bushlark on December 5. “We suspect that there could be more birds, but we were able to photograph only one,” he said.

According to eBird, an online database of bird sightings, singing bushlarks have been frequently spotted in Salem district and have also been recorded near Coimbatore and Kancheepuram in the past few years. Mr. Magesh cited the field guide Birds of the Indian Subcontinent, according to which this bird can be spotted in Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Odisha. “A case study is required to ascertain whether this bird is a resident of Tamil Nadu,” he said.

P.B. Balaji, a core committee member of the Coimbatore Nature Society and an eBird reviewer for Coimbatore district, said that he photographed a singing bushlark at Kalangal near Sulur in March 2019. According to him, there were no recorded sightings of this bird in the State prior to his sighting in Coimbatore district.

He noted that singing bushlarks have subtle morphological differences when compared to Jerdon’s bushlark (Mirafra affinis), which are relatively more widespread across the country. “The main distinguishing features of the singing bushlark are its shorter beaks, whitish throats, white outer tail feathers and shorter hind toe nails,” he said. The bird is capable of mimicking other birds in its calls, Mr. Balaji said.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2022 10:55:41 AM |

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