In a first-ever census of mangrove pitta birds carried out in two coastal districts of Odisha, 179 such birds were sighted.
Mangrove pitta birds are a nearly threatened species found in few pockets of eastern India, including Odisha’s Bhitarkanika and West Bengal’s Sundarbans.
The first census of mangrove pitta (Pitta megharencha) birds was mainly focused on the mangrove patches all along the coasts of Kendrapara and Jagatsingpur districts. “The mangrove pitta is found in coastal mangrove forests of India, foraging on the ground and resting on the trees,” Gopinath Sudarshan Yadav, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Rajnagar Mangrove Forest Division, said.
Mr. Yadav said information has been collected on the distribution, habitat and breeding of mangrove pittas along the coastal mangroves, with a benchmark set up for subsequent population analysis.
“In this exercise, a total of 32 teams were deployed in 32 pre-identified segments. The census was carried out by point count method, either by walking in the forest or using country boats in the creeks. In this census, a total of 179 individual mangrove pitta birds were counted. The highest concentration of the birds has been found in the mangroves near the Mahipura river mouth inside the Bhitarkanika National Park,” the DFO said.
The birds were counted by direct sighting and from their chirping.
The Bhitarkanika National Park witnessed the arrival of 1,39,959 birds of 140 species in January this year.