Biodiversity Nepal
For the Future Generation

Eurasian Curlew appeared 50 years later in Nepal

Birds reviewed in wetlands and different parts of Nepal

Eurasian Curlew sighted at Chitwan. Photo by Bimita Bhandari
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The Eurasian Curlew is a beautiful bird found more frequently in the coastal areas of Europe, North Asia, Asia, and Africa.

This bird migrates from North Asia to South Asia and stays in the Himalayan and hilly regions of Nepal for a few days in the early winter for food. However, they are seen for a long time in the wetlands of the Terai.

Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) sighted by Narayan Rijal at Kasara, Chitwan.

According to the book ‘The States of Nepal’s Birds: The National Redlist Series’ Volume 2 (2016), Brian Hudson is the first scholar to report that Eurasian curls are found in Nepal. His article published in 1844 provides information on this subject.

Based on Hudson’s information, it can be estimated that this bird can be seen in the Kathmandu Valley. However, over the past 50 years, this bird has been seen only occasionally in the valley.

In the book ‘Birds of Nepal’ written by RL Fleming, RL Jr. Fleming and Lansing Bangdel in 1976, it is stated that this bird was seen in Kathmandu Valley. Similarly H.S. Eurasian Curlew is also found in Kathmandu in the 1982 list of Nepalese Bird Specifications, and Notes on Birds Scene in Nepal (unpublished).

Probably the basis for both studies is based on a study of this bird seen in the 1970s or earlier. One reason is that for the past 50 years, Eurasian Curlew has not been seen by ornithologists in the Kathmandu Valley.

A group of wildlife photographers Sanjay Tha Shrestha, Umang Jung Thapa, Ustab Jungal Thapa, Gopi Shrestha, Chunba Sherpa, Pemba Sherpa, Yuvin Sherpa and Prem Khabbule saw a beautiful bird roaming in the beautiful river of Bhaktapur on 9 September this year. In order to find out the facts about this bird that he had never seen before, he took a picture by himself and sent it to Chief Branch Officer of Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in Nepal, Dr. Hemsagar Baral. Baral was sure that this was the same Eurasian Curlew.

Eurasian Curlew often roam in this group. However, only one rooster was seen in Bhaktapur. Sanjay Tha Shrestha and Pemba Sherpa took a picture of the bird grazing, while others managed to capture the flying picture.

Bimita Bhandari and Narayan Rijal of Chitwan had taken a picture of Eurasian Curlew near Kasara last January. Before that, in the last week of August, Radhakrishna Shrestha also had the opportunity to take a picture of this bird in Chitwan.

According to Narayan Rijal, one or two Eurasian Curlew have been seen in Chitwan in recent years. This bird migrates in the hidden waters of the river, especially after the great flood at the end of the monsoon season. As it is very long beak, it can easily catch food in secret water. They are seen on the bank of river too.

In the experience of Anish Timsina of Koshi Tappu Wildlife Sanctuary, almost two and a half decades ago, an average of one and a half hundred Eurasian Curlew were observed in Koshi Tappu. But for a decade, only three or four have been seen in winter. It is not decided yet that these birds are seen every year.

Manshant Ghimire, a wildlife photographer from Pokhara, has not seen the bird around Pokhara.

The walnut bird, Eurasian Curlew is a migratory bird for places including Koshi Tappu, Chitwan. These migratory birds live in one place for about two, three months, or about one season. In Koshi Tappu, this bird is often seen throughout the winter.

For Kathmandu, the Eurasian Curlew should be considered a ‘passage migrant’ bird. These birds of prey end up somewhere, staying in a special place for food for only a few days.

The Eurasian Curlew seen in Bhaktapur may have gone from Siberia to South Africa via Nepal. It is unknown at this time when they will return back to Siberia. Because scientists are still unclear about its flight path.

The World Union for Conservation of Nature has identified the Eurasian Curlew as an endangered species. For Nepal, it is a critically endangered bird. Its numbers are steadily declining around the world. The main reason for this is the declining habitat of this bird, especially the wetland area.

The practice of killing the beautiful Eurasian Curlew and the increasing movement of people in the area are also considered to be additional reasons.

Due to the encroachment and exploitation in the wetland area in Nepal, the Eurasian curlew, which was seen in hundreds earlier, is becoming increasingly rare. This bird, which flies from Siberia to South Asia and Africa, discontinue to love Nepal, which is an unpleasant situation for bird lovers.

Eurasian Curlew  (Numenius arquata)seen in Bhaktapur by Sanjay Tha Shrestha

With the exception of the duck group visitor or wallet bird, we do not have much information about small visitors or wallet birds. Information about the Eurasian Curlew is also scarce. What is the reason why other bird species like this bird are still found in abundance but Eurasian Curlew is critically endangered? There need to be more research on this.

How to attract visitors and wallet birds to Nepal as before? The concerned bodies should pay attention to this. Otherwise, in the near future, we must say “a beautiful bird called Eurasian Curlew was found in Nepal.”

Translated from the online version of Himal Khabar  published on Saturday, September 10, 2077, written by Kamal Maden.

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