India’s rare red hornbill rediscovered after 90 years

KOLKATABird the red horned pheasant already in rare India , was found again at Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary, Darjeeling District, West Bengal. This is the first discovery in almost 90 years of a species of bird called Munal (Satyr Tragopan), last seen in 1933.

The male satyr tragopan is one of the most beautiful birds in India and also one of the rarest. This species is found in Neora Valley National Park and Singalila National Park in Darjeeling District.

“Scientists have rediscovered the Crimson Horned Pheasant after 170 years at Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary, Darjeeling District, WB. The rediscovery of the pheasant after 170 years is encouraging news,” said Dhriti Banerjee, director of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).

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Locally called the Munal, the sighting of the bird was last recorded in 1933 by British scientists in the area near the city of Darjeeling at an altitude of 7,000 to 8,000 feet. This bird was first spotted in 1842 by scientist Hickell between thekurseong and Sonada regions in what is now Darjeeling District.

Tragopans are often referred to as “horned birds” because they display horn-like protrusions during courtship. Like other tragopans, the satyr has faced habitat destruction and hunting pressures, and now has near-endangered status.

The male satyr is 68 cm long and bright red in color with white spots. Females are smaller, less conspicuous, and brown in color. These birds live in moist oak and rhododendron forests with dense undergrowth and clumps of bamboo.

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Dhriti Banerjee said the North Bengal region of West Bengal is rich in faunal diversity due to quality habitats and protection by the Forest Service. In addition to Singalila National Park, the sanctuary, which includes the Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary, is home to several important conservation-priority species.

Banerjee explained that a long-term study by ZSI scientists, funded by the National Mission for Himalayan Studies, has produced documentation of 17 large and medium-sized mammals from the reserve. Of these animals, three species have been classified as “Vulnerable” according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), namely the Asiatic black bear, the common leopard and the mainland serau. The other three are “near threatened”, namely the golden cat, the marbled cat and the giant black squirrel.


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