A mighty feat by a small bird

Baffling fact

A mighty feat by a small bird

As the first migratory birds have arrived in and around the City, three bird watchers and photographers, Clement Francis, Nitin and Manjunath P have sighted the first Brown Shrike, on the foot of Nandi Hills last week. This sighting has led to a new debate on bird migration. The bird, according Manjunath, is a juvenile and could be just two months old and might have been hatched just one-and- half months ago.

“This bird migrates from Central Asian region, which is 5,000 to 7,000 km away. Though migration is common among adult birds, what is puzzling is the migration of the young bird to this particular place? “ he said. What has also confounded the bird watchers is the great distance travelled by the bird which would normally take an adult bird a month to cover.

Manjunath said that the bird breeds in Central Asia and arrives in the region only after monsoon recedes and will be here until April.

Loss of colour

Measuring a total of 19 cm, this bird will completely lose its dark colours once it becomes an adult and would grow another couple of centimetres.

Brown Shrike has rufous-brown rump and rounded tail, heavy bill (all black in breeding season, pale-based otherwise), white brow over mask and buff or rufescent flanks and belly; also brown wings with rufous to white edges. This migratory species is found mainly in Asia. This was the first migratory Indian bird that was named by Carolus Linnaeus.

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