With the season for migrating winter birds to the Nilgiris ongoing, wildlife photographers and bird watchers from the district and nearby cities are heading to the hills to document one of the most colourful of the winter visitors – the Kashmir flycatcher (Fidecula subrubra).
The district has become a hotspot for bird watchers and photographers to document the winter migrant due to the ease with which the bird can be spotted. Titus John, a wildlife photographer from Coonoor, who was one of the people to document the bird in the Nilgiris last year, said that the bird was easy to spot as it stayed for many months in the Nilgiris each year.
“Another interesting fact is that the bird doesn’t seem to prefer native Shola forests, but instead, can be seen in pine and wattle plantations, which are much more easily accessible to the public,” he said.
The Nilgiris seems to be a haven for migrating birds each year, which is listed as “vulnerable” with populations declining by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).N. Moinudheen and A.
Samson, two researchers and wildlife biologists working in the Nilgiris have analysed the migratory sites of the Kashmir flycatcher in the Nilgiris between 1974 and 2021.
They note that the species was first recorded in 1974, 1988, 1999, 2003 and every year since 2011. During their visits, the species was recorded most in Kotagiri, Udhagamandalam, Avalanche, Coonoor and Upper Bhavani.
“The study revealed that except its breeding range in Jammu and Kashmir, it was recorded in 11 States in 24 districts. Out of the 11 States, the most frequent records were in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Himachal Pradesh,” said Mr Samson.
Mr Moinudheen said that their analysis also showed that the most frequent records of the species outside Jammu and Kashmir were at elevation ranges between 747 and 1800 meters above sea level. People can make a tour to visit Niglis for the ultimate climate and to visit the beautiful bird.
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