Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Munnar Survey adds 13 new Birds and 7 new Butterflies to the high-range landscape

A scientific survey of the Munnar Wildlife Division conducted last week came out with interesting results. A total of 13 new bird records and 8 new butterflies were recorded for the landscape. These include those species that were not recorded previously in the Management Plans of the regions National Parks and Sanctuaries. The 4-day exercise was conducted by the Munnar Wildlife Division in association with the Travancore Nature History Society (TNHS), Trivandrum.
About 100 volunteers participated in the survey done in all the Protected areas of the Munnar Landscape, namely Eravikulam National Park, Mathikettan Shola National Park, Anamudi Shola National Park, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kurinjimala Sanctuary and Pampadum Shola National Park.

A total of 188 species of birds of which 13 species were additions making a total number of 245 species. The highest number of bird species was recorded at Chinnar 144 species, followed by Eravikulam 103 species, Kurinjimala had 60, Anamudi shola had 44, Mathikettan had 66 and Pampadum Shola had 63 species.

Indian Longbilled Vulture

The interesting bird additions include the Indian long-billed Vulture (Gyps indicus) from Eravikulam, Ruddy Breasted Crake, Malayan Night Heron from Pampadum Shola and the Taiga Flycatcher from Chinnar. Other records that were added to the Munnar checklist were Indian Cormorant, Rufous Bellied Hawk Eagle, Spotted Owlet, Oriental Scops Owl, Brown Wood Owl, Alexandrine Parakeet, Jerdon's Bushlark, Skyke's Warbler and Clamorous Reed Warbler. The state bird Great Indian Hornbill, and the Mountain Hawk Eagle (Legge's Hawk Eagle) was seen in Chinnar. The endemic species that were recorded included Nilgiri Wood Pigeon that was recorded from all sanctuaries, Nilgiri Pipit which was ­very common in all the high-elevation grasslands, Broad-Tailed Grass Warbler (Broad- Tailed Grassbird), Nilgiri Flycatcher, Black-and-Orange Flycatcher, White-Bellied Sholakili, Scaly Thrush (Nilgiri Thrush) and Nilgiri Blackbird.

Palani Laughingthrush

With respect to butterflies a total on 173 species were observed in the whole landscape. Chinnar topped the list with 128 species, Eravikulam had 68, Anamudi Shola had 66 and Mathikettan Shola had 62 species. The lowest number of species were at Pampadum shola 45 species and Kurinjimala with 37 species. Among butterflies 7 species were additions to the Munnar Landscape. Those were Sahyadri Clear Sailer, Indian Common Shot Silverline, Oriental Common Awl, Oriental Spotted Angle, Oriental Chestnut Angle, Black Angle and Rounded Palm-Redeye. The state butterfly Malabar Banded Peacock was recorded at Anamudi Shola. Other interesting observations were Sahyadri Birdwing, African Marbled Skipper and the African Grass Jewel. Endemic butterflies that were recorded included Malabar Raven, Nilgiri Clouded Yellow, Palni Bushbrown, Red-disc Bushbrown, Nilgiri Four-ring, Nilgiri Jewel Four-ring, Palni Four-ring, Palni Fritillary, Nilgiri Tiger and White-disc Hedge Blue. 

Nilgiri Four Ring

Besides butterflies Odonates were also surveyed, 30 species of Odonates were recorded
Anax guttatus, Lathrecista asiatica, Neurobasis chinensis, Orthetrum chrysis and Vestalis gracilis were the new records and all were common lowland species which might have ascended as the climate became warmer in the lower slopes.

Legges Hawk Eagle

Nilgiri Pipit 

Shaheen Falcon

White-bellied Sholakili 
Palani Fritillary

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