Birdwatchers across Bangladesh already have an abundance of bird species to watch, photograph and marvel at. However, every now and then, one will get lucky enough to find a new addition to our already blossoming flora and fauna.
One such lucky birdwatcher was Nayem Islam, a 19-year old birdwatcher, when he spotted the Rusty-tailed flycatcher in Bogura’s Gandagram village recently.
The Rusty-tailed flycatcher is a small bird from the family of Old World flycatchers and chats (Muscicapidae), scientifically known as Ficedula ruficauda.
“The bird breeds in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and live in some parts of southwest India and vagrant in Kazakhstan,” said Monirul H Khan, eminent wildlife expert of Jahangirnagar University.
Speaking to The Daily Star, Nayem said, “On Friday morning [April 19], a senior photographer, Abu Kaiyum Khwaja, and I went to the Gandagram bamboo forest to photograph the Asian Paradise flycatcher.
“We were lucky enough for the Asian Paradise to appear just a few minutes after we reached the forest…then I suddenly spotted a small unknown bird and quickly took 4-5 photos of it, not thinking much of it.”
Nayem and Khwaja were joined by some more wildlife and bird photographers -- Touhid Parvez Biplob, Ali Ashraf Bhuiyan, Kamal Ahmed and Mohiul Islam -- at the village.
“I asked Biplob bhai about the bird I saw. He could not identify it but could tell it was a kind of flycatcher. I then posted a photo in a Facebook group called ‘Birds Bangladesh’, asking to confirm the bird’s identity. I got a lot of different responses, but nobody could properly identify it,” Nayem said.
The very next morning, Arif Islam, another senior birdwatcher, got in touch with Nayem.
“He called and asked, ‘Nayem what have you done? Where did you photograph this bird? It’s a new bird! Come to Facebook!”
Wildlife conservationist Sayam U Chowdhury, on Nayem’s Facebook post, identified the bird as a Rusty-tailed flycatcher, which Monirul H Khan then confirmed.
Thus, through Nayem’s photograph, the Rusty-tailed flycatcher, a bird native to the coolest parts of the Himalayan countries, was first recorded in Bangladesh.