As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Swamp grass-babbler, a rare bird seen near Chandrapur area in Guwahati

G PLUS NEWS | DECEMBER 29, 2018 13:29 HRS
GUWAHATI: A student from Kerela, Leons Mathew Abraham studying at the College of Veterinary Sciences in Assam spotted a rare bird, the Swamp grass-babbler, near the Chandrapur area in Guwahati. 
The scientific name for the bird is Laticilla cinerascens and it is also commonly known as swamp prinia. It is one of the most endangered grassland birds in India in the area. 
Abraham said that the rare bird is really hard to spot, but after visiting the sar in the evening a few times, he was able to hide and shoot a video and even get a few pictures before it disappeared into the tussocks. He also mentioned that it was a shock to see the bird in this area as this habitat is not really good for the bird and its future is bleak on the island. 
This endangered bird species is specific to the Brahmaputra and Cachar plains. However, all recent findings have found that the bird comes from a small pocket in Upper Assam and adjacent areas of Arunachal Pradesh. The Swamp Prinia used to be found in the Dibru Saikhowa-Amarpur area but went unrecorded for four years until it was found again in the D’Ering grasslands of Arunachal a few years ago.
Assam birder, Pritam Baruah explained that the record for seeing these birds in Guwahati is unexpected and significant as there has been no confirmed records outside the Dibru Saikhowa-Amarpur-D’Ering region for decades and there are still not many suitable habitats around the city. The finding of the bird in a seasonal river island hints that the species is prone to opportunistic movements along the Brahmaputra, which also shows the importance of conserving the river island ecosystem in Assam.

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