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Rare White-Bellied Heron in Arunachal Pradesh

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    3rd May, 2021


The white-bellied heron, a rare and elusive bird, was spotted at Walong, that is around 557 kilometres from the state capital, in the Anjaw district of Arunachal Pradesh.

About the white-bellied heron

  • Habitat: It is one of the rarest birds in the world and is found only in Bhutan, Myanmar and the Namdapha Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Conservation Status: It is categorised as ‘critically endangered’ in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red Data Book.
    • It is also listed in Schedule IV in the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Significance of the recent sighting

  • The recent sighting at a height of 1,200 meters above sea level is a first at such a higher elevation in India.
    • It had also been recorded in the adjacent Kamlang Tiger Reserve in Lohit district.
  • The presence of nesting sites within this area is a positive sign for the future habitat.
  • The breeding season of the white-bellied heron starts in February and lasts till June.
  • The critically endangered bird is establishing new habitats beyond its traditional range.
  • This epitomises the positive health of the forest ecosystem in this biodiversity-rich state.