Sighting of Slaty-headed Parakeet (Psittacula himalayan) in the core of Damphu town, Tsirang

By Gyeltshen, Teacher, Mendrelgang

Tsirang being for three weeks complete lockdown since the first Covid-19 positive in the Dzongkhag brought a serene environment for nature to display its glamour. It was observed that varied avians were willingly making their visit to their fore-long lost habitat. Due to no commuters and no anthropogenic activities going on seems to give nature a chance to revive its ugliness.

Tsirang hosts more than 500 avian species (ebird) and is home to a few venerable and endangered species, which are so artful.  Out of which only two species of Parakeets were observed since then until Slaty-headed Parakeet Psittacula himalayan was observed on 4 Feb 2022 making three species of this kind.

Early morning at around 0630 hours, as I got dressed in orange to start my duty, suddenly a clear and audible familiar call just drove my attention. Curiously, I listened and fixed my eyes close to the direction the call was heard. Then I saw a male parakeet perched on top of the willow tree then flew away and perched on the pear tree(picture taken). I took several pictures on the same tree using a P900 camera borrowed from my friend residing in Damphu. I called Mr. Karma Wangda, one of the ardent birders who is a teacher at DMSS and I shared the evidence of the species around which he has to say that the species exist through a call he heard in the previous year but failed to see and take a shot. The bird remained on the tree branch for almost half an hour making agitated noise. I looked around and listened if there was another one (perhaps a female) nearby perched but could not see that.

This bird species is the first record in the bird list of Tsirang after Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria,  and Plum-headed Parakeet Psittacula cyanocephala. The Plum-headed Parakeet species was recorded in the year 2018 as the first record for Bhutan.

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