Nepal is one of the best destinations for the summer migratory birds coming from the southern parts of South East Asia as well as from Africa and Australia due to favourable breeding environment.
Unlike tropical countries, Nepal experiences seasonal variation with longer days in the summer and shorter in the winter. “With longer days, birds get more time to feed themselves that enhances their healthy breeding,” said senior ornithologist Hem Sagar Baral. “As the birds can enjoy better feeding places, they spend the entire summer in Nepal.”
A total of 34 migratory bird species visit the country every summer for breeding purposes unlike the winter migratory birds that come here in search of favourable temperature from Siberia and Eastern Europe.
Different varieties of Eurasian cuckoo are among the summer migratory birds, which breed during their stay in Nepal. The summer migratory birds are also recorded in northeasten parts of India and Pakistan that mostly migrate from South East Asia, Africa and Australia.
With the onset of summer, the first summer migratory birds have started coming to Chitwan National Park (CNP) with Chestnut-headed Bee-eater to be the first one recorded on Feb. 26. Nearly a dozen of this bird species were found in the CNP, said Baral.
Almost all the summer migratory birds breed in Nepal and some species, including cuckoos are brood parasites. Most cuckoos do not build their nests and parental duty is transferred to a host species that is known as brood parasitism. For example, Indian Cuckoo prefers to make drongos as its nanny, while the Asian Koel prefers crows to raise its young. The longest journey among Nepal’s summer migrants is carried out by Pied Cuckoo covering over 5000 kilometers.
However, the wetland-dependent birds are facing threats due to disappearance of wetlands, habitat degradation and hunting. “Wetlands are among the most productive breeding environments for many bird species, including kingfishers and water ducks,” said Baral. Of the total 864 bird species recorded in the country, over 200 species are wetland-dependent. Nepal constitutes over 10 percent of the world’s total bird population.
Pragati Shahi – kantipuronline.com