Greater adjutant spotted in Koshi Tappu after 22 yrs

December 27, 2017

The Kathmandu Post, 27 Dec 2017 

Greater adjutant, an endangered member of the sork family, Ciconiidae, has been spotted at Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve after 22 years.

According to the conservationists, the bird was last seen in the country in 1995.

Anish Timsina, chairman of Koshi Bird Society, said the bird was spotted among a flock of vultures in the western part of Koshi Tappu.

Greater adjutants  prefer to nest in about 50 feet tall trees. Though the bird was found throughout northern and eastern India and many countries of south and Southeast Asia, its number has been declining rapidly due to habitat loss.

Greater adjutants have thick bill and pendulous neck-pouch, commonly with pinkish naked head with white neck-ruff.  Ornithologist Hem Sagar Baral said the bird has been classified as “endangered” species.

“These birds used to make their nests in the roadside trees at Inaruwa, Dharan and Biratnagar areas in the past. Nowadays, they could not be seen in these areas due to the loss habitat,” he said.

Baral added that greater adjutants could return to Nepal if the concerned authority manages proper habitat for them.

“The bird has an incomparable role in maintaining ecological balance,” he said.

The bird is usually found in wetlands, nesting in tall trees with closed canopies and bamboo clumps around nesting trees. Its breeding season is dry season(October-April/May). Though the bird is found in large number in the past, there’s only a few nesting colonies left in Cambodia and Assam of India.

Now, there are only around 800 adjutant birds in Assam, 150 in Bihar and around 200 in Cambodia.