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.