By Hsieh Chieh-yu and Jonathan Chin / Staff reporter, with staff writer
A black-chinned fruit dove rests on a Formosan firethorn branch at the Siaobantien Recreational Farm in Taitung County’s Lugu Township in an undated photograph.
Unusually high numbers the rare black-chinned fruit doves have been spotted at Siaobantien Recreational Farm in Nantou County’s Lugu Township (鹿谷), birdwatchers said.
Photo: Courtesy of Nantou County Councilor Hsu S
The black-chinned fruit dove (Ptilinopus leclancheri) is a colorful and small bird so rare that one birdwatcher described the sightings as an event that could happen “once in 100 years,” attracting many enthusiasts and photographers to the farm.
According to the Council of Agriculture’s Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute, an adult black-chinned fruit dove can reach a length of 28cm, with white feathers on its head and neck, green feathers on its torso and wings, and a characteristic black streak on its chin.
A reclusive bird that usually stays away even from its own kind, the black-chinned fruit dove is rarely observed out of its habitats, which are the middle and low-altitude forests south of Chiayi, and had never been seen at Siaobantien Recreational Farm, the institute said.
The sightings in Nantou are made all the rarer by the fact that in the past 30 years, the number of documented sightings of the bird is estimated at about a dozen, it said.