Chhoto Bhimraj: Seen in north '1st time in a century' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 11, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:19 AM, January 11, 2019

Nature Quest

Chhoto Bhimraj: Seen in north '1st time in a century'

On a late December morning, an hour-long stroll through the centuries-old Bamboo forest surrounding the Gandagram village of Shajahanpur upazila revealed the sight of hundreds of small colourful minivets. In awe of such an astonishing sight, I suddenly spotted something different. 

An emerald-blue shone out of a pitch black coating, and making it even more attractive were the ornamental feathers hanging by its tail. It was then that I realised the bird was a species of the Drongo among the brighter coloured minivets.

According to local bird expert and associate professor of the zoology department in Govt MM Ali College in Tangail, SM Iqbal the bird was a lesser racket-tailed Drongo.

Iqbal said, “It is scientifically known as Dicrurus Remifer and in Bangla it's called Chhoto Bhimraj,” adding that this was the first time the bird was spotted in the northern districts in the last 100 years.

“Bird enthusiasts and wild life photographers are still looking for this bird throughout the northern districts,” he said.

These birds are known to be winter migratory birds in Bangladesh and are generally found in all kinds of forests in Dhaka, Chattogram, Khulna and Sylhet divisions. “During their breeding period, April to June, they can be found in the Himalayas and Northeast India,” Iqbal said.

“High populations of the lesser racket-tailed Drongo are found in India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Cambodia, Indonesia and Myanmar. They come to Bangladesh during winter and wander in forests and feed on flying insects. They also protect various small birds from their predators,” said Iqbal.

Eminent wildlife expert Monirul H Khan of Jahangirnagar University said, “It's rare to see the lesser racket-tailed Drongo in Bogura out of green forests or Shalban. However, the greater racket-tailed Drongo is a residential bird here and can be spotted frequently.” 

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed the bird under the “Least Concern Species” category as it is not threatened globally, but this bird is protected under the Bangladesh Wildlife Preservation Act in Bangladesh.

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