70 species of winter migratory birds arrive

Kathmandu, October 8

More than 70 species of winter migratory birds have arrived in Kathmandu Valley to avoid extremely cold winter in the Northern hemisphere.

According to ornithologists, of the approximately 150 species, more than 70 have arrived in the wetland areas, including the Bagmati corridor of Chovar and Taudaha, of Kathmandu Valley and southern plains to spend the winter season.

Ornithologist Dr Hem Sagar Baral said all northern migratory birds had arrived in jungles and wetlands of Nepal to spend winter. Most of Nepal’s winter migrants come from China, Mongolia, Korea, Siberian region of Russia and central Asia.

Baral said grey headed lapwing, common teal, Eurasian wigeon and most of the duck species can be sighted at Taudaha and Bagmati corridor along Chovar up to mid-winter season.

“Taudaha and Chover in Kathmandu Valley and Jagdishpur reservoir in Kapilvastu, Ghodaghodi lake in Kailali, Koshi Tappu Wildlife reserve, Karnali, Narayani and Koshi river area among others are now full of migratory birds,” Baral said.

“It’s interesting and exciting time to watch and enjoy these magnificent guests in Nepal as these are precious guests helping us to maintain our balanced natural system. Time has come that we respect and care for them,” he added.

In Nepal mid-September to mid-October is the peak migration time of birds. During this autumn migration, some special birds pass through Nepal. One of these is the highest flying migratory bird the bar-headed goose which is known to cross the mighty Himalayas on its journey to and from its summer and winter quarters.

Bird specialists say a flock of these birds was once observed flying at the height of 9,375 meters above Mount Everest. These are quite large birds and weigh up to 2.5 kg. Similarly, ducks species like ruddyshel, mallard, gadwall, common teal, northern pintail, woodsand piper, green shank, thrushes, fly catcher, leaf wabblers, booted eagle, among others, have come Nepal to spend winter.

Meanwhile, it has been said that almost all summer migratory birds have returned home.

Every year, when summer starts in Nepal, summer migratory birds from the south enter the country as is their custom for breeding and other species of birds that migrate from north return to their summer habitats. Many of these migratory birds come from Sub-Saharan Africa, a journey of more than 5,000 km to Nepal. Others come from South-east Asia, North-east India, and South India.

Experts say these birds migrate to Nepal in search of food and to escape competitions for survival. These birds need easily accessible food, good weather, and less competition during breeding season.

Unlike other sub-tropical countries, Nepal has longer days in summer, giving the birds up to 14 hours a day to forage for food, a luxury they don’t have in their native countries. Of the birds that migrate to Nepal, are various species of cuckoos, such as pied cuckoos, Eurasian cuckoos, and oriental cuckoos.