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Rare Bird Found for First Time in Bhaktapur, Kathmandu Valley Hills

June 20, 2024
Bhaktapur Bird
Photo: Lesser Gray Shrike | BirdForum / for representation

Birdwatchers in Bhaktapur have discovered the Lesser Gray Shrike, a bird rarely seen outside Europe, South and West Asia. This exciting find marks the first sighting of the species in the hilly regions of Nepal, including the Kathmandu Valley.

The bird was spotted by Shankar Tiwari, a local nature guide, at Mini Koshi Tappu in Manohara, Bhaktapur. His photo evidence confirms the first record for this area.

“This particular shrike thrives in warmer weather,” explained bird researcher Sanjay Tha Shreshtha. “Its appearance in Bhaktapur during June coincides with the rise in temperatures.”

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While new to the Kathmandu Valley hills, the Lesser Gray Shrike was first documented in Nepal last year by Devraj Joshi of the National Nature Conservation Fund. Joshi spotted the bird in the lowlands of Shuklaphanta National Park.

The Lesser Gray Shrike is a long-distance migrant with a distinctive appearance. Thashreshtha describes it as resembling a Barn Swallow, but with a black forehead and head contrasting with white markings on its black wings.

“This exciting find adds to the rich biodiversity of Manohara,” Tha Shreshtha said. “The area already boasts over 300 documented bird species.”

The Lesser Gray Shrike typically inhabits areas with limited water sources, such as deserts and dry regions found in Europe, West Asia, and parts of Rajasthan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

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