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A Haven for Summer Birds 

April 20, 2024
Summer Birds 

Over 50 species of migratory birds arrive in Nepal for their annual breeding season, National parks here are vital for migratory birds. 

A fascinating avian drama is unfolding in Nepal’s Bardiya National Park. Cuckoos, known for their parasitic nesting habits, are laying their eggs in the nests of white-breasted jurelis and other birds. Like the cuckoo, the Kafal Pakyo bird also exploits nests, engaging in a battle of wits with the rightful owners.

This phenomenon isn’t limited to Bardiya. Across Nepal, 13 species of cuckoos and similar birds are taking advantage of the hard work of other feathered species. After their unsuspecting victims build elaborate nests, the cuckoos stealthily swoop in to lay their eggs and abandon them.

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“These summer visitor birds have arrived in Nepal to raise their young,” explains senior ornithologist Dr. Hemsagar Baral. He notes that birds like the Asian paradise flycatcher and blue-tailed bee-eater were spotted in Chitwan National Park and nearby areas in early March.

More Than 50 Species Arrive

Ornithologists estimate that over 52 species of summer migratory birds have now descended upon Nepal. Upon arrival, they prioritize finding secure and resource-rich nesting locations in trees, riverbanks, grasslands, and other habitats. These birds travel great distances, journeying from India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, and beyond.

Birds like the Asian paradise flycatcher, orange-breasted sunbird, and several other vibrant species have already been spotted. However, the pied cuckoo, which migrates from sub-Saharan Africa, is still en route.

Monsoon Winds Guide Migration

Dr. Baral explains that the late arrival of the pied cuckoo could be due to this year’s delayed monsoon season. These birds rely on monsoon winds and the pre-monsoon conditions for their migration. Nepal is expecting the monsoon to arrive in mid-May, with pre-monsoon activity starting in late April or early May.

Nepal: An Ideal Breeding Ground

Ornithologist Tikaram Giri highlights that many birds could start laying their eggs by late April, with fledglings emerging by the end of May. Nepal’s long summer days provide ample feeding time, attracting these birds. The country also offers safe havens, making it a prime nesting destination.

The process is remarkably swift. It takes these birds about 2-3 weeks to build nests and raise their young. They usually depart Nepal towards the end of October. Interestingly, ornithologist Dinesh Giri notes that in favorable conditions, some return for a second breeding cycle before their final migration.

One Nature guide describes a vibrant transformation in Nepal’s forests, with new growth and the cheerful chirping of birds. Several species have already started nesting in Chitwan National Park, Lumbini, and other protected areas. Over 90 percent of these summer visitors prefer the plains and mid-hills, with national parks like Chitwan, Bardiya, and Shuklaphanta being favored breeding grounds.

Ditible Staff

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