A winged visitor, a rare white-rumped vulture, from Nepal that went missing some ten months ago was found by officials at Bihar Bird Ringing Station in Darbhanga after disappearing from radar despite being radio-tagged.
Belonging to a critically endangered species, the bird was last sighted in the Tanahun district of the Himalayan nation and was found in a weakened state as it was starving for lack of food, officials said.
The white-rumped vulture was listed as a critically endangered species in 2000 because its population was declining rapidly, mainly due to eating carcasses of animals treated with the veterinary drug diclofenac, Chief Wildlife Warden PK Gupta told PTI.
White-rumped vultures, generally found near human habitations, were very common in the Indian subcontinent, in addition to Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and South Vietnam. These birds mostly feed on the ground, but sleep and nest in trees and cliffs, spending much of their time soaring on wind currents, searching for carrion.
The bird is medium in size and dark with blackish plumage, a white neck ruff and a white patch of feathers on the lower back and upper tail, from which its name is derived. An adult white-rumped vulture is 75 to 85 cm long.
The missing bird was used by Nepalese authorities for research and monitoring of the vulture safe zone, Gupta said.
The bird appeared to be weak, he said, adding that it was immediately supplied with food. The vulture is under observation at the Bird Ringing and Monitoring Station in Bhagalpur and will be released after a few days, he said.
“The vulture has also been medically examined. The Nepalese authorities have appreciated our efforts and have also shared details of its movements,” Gupta said.
The Jatayu Conservation Breeding Center in Haryana’s Pinjore, the Bombay Natural History Society and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in England were alerted immediately after the find, he said.
The radio collar attached to the bird stopped transmitting data in April when it was in Abukhaireni in Tanahu, Nepal. It was last sighted on Sept. 3 in the same area, Mr Gupta said.
Bihar is the fourth state in the country to have a bird ringing station. Rings are placed on the birds’ feet to study their migration pattern, mortality and territoriality, he said.
The bird ringing station in Bhagalpur rescued a Mongolian fish eagle in October last year.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)
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