The oriental dwarf kingfisher is documented for the primary time in Anamalai Hills of the Western Ghats
“At first, I couldn’t believe my eyes,” remembers Pravin Shanmughanandam, a birding fanatic. He was taking a look at a stunning chook perched atop a tree on the Anamalai Hills close to Pollachi, a mountain vary of the Western Ghats, thought of one of the necessary biodiversity hotspots on this planet.
“It was within the night. First, I noticed a pair of Tickell’s blue flycatcher. Once the flycatchers took off, this colourful chook confirmed up proper in entrance of me. I used to be not sure of photographing it as my digicam was within the backseat. Luckily, the chook stayed on, bobbing its head and on the lookout for a prey, maybe a crab, lizard or a small fish.”
It was the oriental dwarf kingfisher, cherished by bird-watchers as a ‘Jewel of the Western Ghats’, and much adored for its bright and beautiful appearance. “One of the smallest among all kingfishers, it sports red, violet, blue and yellow colors and is endemic to coastal regions of the Indian subcontinent and countries of Southeast Asia too,” says Pravin, who is also the co-founder of Pollachi Papyrus .
While the Konkan Coast along the Western Ghats is a stronghold for this species (where bird watchers flock to during monsoon to photograph them in pairs during breeding), Pravin was surprised to spot it at the edge of the reserve forest, and proximate to human activity . “They were a pair, busy hunting. I could only get a glimpse before they disappeared into the thickets. I managed to get a few images of one of the individuals,” he provides.
His remark turns into the primary ever document of the species in Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) and the primary photographic document within the Anamalais, which covers an even bigger panorama together with Nelliampathy, Eravikulam, Parambikulam and Vazhachal in Kerala .
The Anamalai Hills are house to giant mammals such because the Asiatic elephant, tiger, leopard, in addition to endangered species like wild canine, Nilgiri tahr, and lion-tailed macaques. They are additionally house to all of the 18 endemic chook species of Western Ghats. Peter Prem, discipline biologist at ATR Tiger Reserve has noticed that over 300 species of birds have been recorded throughout the 5 ranges that contains 954 sq km of reserve forests.
The newest addition to the record is the oriental dwarf kingfisher, also referred to as the three-toed kingfisher, the black-backed kingfisher, or miniature kingfisher. “This is exciting news for nature enthusiasts. Researchers say it comes as a no-surprise given the ATR consists of various types of habitats such as thorny scrub, dry and moist deciduous, riverine forest, tropical rainforest and shola-grassland. Man-made habitats such as monoculture plantations and large reservoirs harbor a variety of birds,” says Pravin.
The chook is simply barely bigger than a medium-sized hummingbird and measures 12.5 to 14 cm in size (together with invoice and tail). They are extremely territorial when choosing their habitation vary. Normally, these territories are situated the place ample meals sources can be found. Says Pravin, “The record in the region becomes significant and calls for conservation of critical habitats.”