New bird species 'White-cheeked Starling' discovered in Nepal's Annapurna Conservation Area

White-cheeked Starling at Picadilly, Seletar

Kathmandu: A new species of bird has been unearthed within the scenic landscapes of Nepal’s Annapurna Conservation Area. Named the ‘White-cheeked Starling’ by the Nepalese Ornithological Union, this finding marks a significant addition to Nepal’s avian biodiversity, elevating the nation’s tally to 895 distinct bird species.

The revelation comes as ornithologist Shankar Tiwari, amidst a trek in the Upper Mustang region, stumbled upon the elusive bird at an altitude of 3,840 meters in Lo Manthang. Tiwari’s keen observation on May 7th, at 8:49 AM, while accompanied by foreign guests, led to the capture of the bird’s image, later submitted to the Nepal Bird Record Committee for verification.

Following meticulous scrutiny and consultations with both national and international experts, the Nepalese Ornithological Union officially recognized the avian newcomer, assigning it the scientific nomenclature Spodiopsar cineraceus.

Originating from regions spanning China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, Russia, and Vietnam, with occasional migrations to Southeast Asia, the White-cheeked Starling’s presence in Nepal underscores the country’s rich ecological diversity.

Tuli Subedi, chief of the Nepal Bird Record Committee, emphasized the species’ migratory habits, noting its regular seasonal migration southward to southeastern China and Taiwan, with Nepal presumably serving as a pit stop on its migratory route.

The discovery of this avian inhabitant in the picturesque enclave of Lo Manthang not only broadens scientific knowledge but also underscores Nepal’s significance as a sanctuary for diverse flora and fauna, beckoning further exploration and conservation efforts.