October 30, 2019
To the pleasant surprise of birders and residents, a lone juvenile White-bellied Heron (WBH) was spotted for the first time in Thimphu yesterday.
The critically endangered species was spotted near the Babesa sewerage pond. It was found feeding on a small patch of land near the Thimchhu.
A bird enthusiast, Sherab Gyeltshen first saw the heron but could not confirm its identity. Later, few experts confirmed it as the White-bellied Heron.
Bird experts are determining why a WBH was in Thimphu, considering the elevation range within which the species forage.
Senior research officer with Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN), Sonam Tshering said that habitat disturbance in lower areas could have caused the bird to move in the lesser disturbed areas. “WBH is mostly found at an elevation range of 500-1,500 metres above sea level, but Thimphu fall within 2,000 metres, which make the spotting almost near to impossible. But we cannot conclude anything,” he said.