Birdwatchers call it a rare sighting
It is usually during the winter that a distinctly dark large bird – the Cinereous vulture, with a blacked-tipped pink beak – migrates from the mountainous regions of Europe and Asia to warmer places, including India. While earlier records of this migratory bird have revealed that it comes to northern parts of India up to Rajasthan, bird watchers and researchers were baffled to find it in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand. Shib Shankar Goswami, a bird enthusiast, spotted the vulture in Hazaribagh on December 30. “I was doing a nature walk with a group of bird enthusiasts, called Bird’s Buddy, when I spotted the vulture perched on a tree. Interestingly, the Cinereous vulture (classified as Near Threatened under the IUCN Red List) was found with three other endangered species of vultures,” Mr. Goswami said. “Initially, I could not believe a sight where four rare vultures were seen in one frame, but the photographs taken at the spot revealed what can be a bird watcher’s delight,” he added. According to him, the three other vultures in the frame were the Himalyan Griffon, White-rumped vulture and the Long-billed vulture. Smitha Pankaj, Divisional Forest Officer (Hazaribag East), confirmed the presence of the visitor from far off countries to Jharkhand. “We have spotted the Cinerous vulture for the first time in the region,” the DFO said, adding that five species of vultures, including the Himalayan Griffon, were spotted in Hazaribagh recently.