ITANAGAR- Bugun Liocichla, a critically-endangered avian species, was seen at the Eaglenest Pass in western Arunachal Pradesh during a day-long birdwatching festival, an official said on Thursday.
The majestic bird, which has a very attractive plumage, is found only in the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in West Kameng district. The species is named after the local Bugun tribe, who protect them.
Only 14-20 such birds are reportedly present in the state. They occupy an area of 3-4 square kilometres in the temperate forest within the traditional lands of Singchung, 213 km west of Itanagar.
A male and a female pair was sighted during the Bugun Liocichla Festival on Wednesday, chief organiser Naresh Glow told PTI.
Glow added that the SBVCR range officer, many social activists and civilians who attended the festival were elated to see the rare bird, which is mainly olive-grey with a black cap and a black upper tail.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has classified the species as critically endangered in its Red List of Threatened Species due to the apparent extremely small population, which seems to be declining due to habitat loss.
The bird was first discovered by astrophysicist Ramana Athreya in 1995 and again in 2006 at the Singchung Bugun Village Community Reserve, a biodiversity hotspot spread in 234 sq km.
Twenty-seven locals who looked after the SBVCR had won the India Biodiversity Award 2018 in the category of conservation of wildlife species for its efforts to conserve Bugun Liocichla.