Mangaluru, Feb 21, 2020: The blue-eared kingfisher and grey-bellied cuckoo were among the more than 100 species of birds sighted on the Mangalore University campus, spread over about 300 acres, during the campus bird count a few days ago.
“Blue-eared kingfisher and grey-bellied cuckoo were rarely sighted on the campus. They are new additions to the avian list here,” said Vivek Hasyagar, a research scholar from the Department of Applied Zoology, and Maxim Rodrigues, a final-year student from the Department of Marine Geology, who coordinated the activity.
The bird count was conducted for four days from February 14. The university has been participating in the campus bird count, a sub-event of ‘Great Backyard Bird Count’ organised by Bird Count India, for the past five years.
Birdwatchers sighted 103 species of birds on the campus this year, they said, adding that yellow-billed babbler sightings were rare on the campus. Among the other birds spotted were black drongo, black kite, brahminy kite, common iora, green warbler, purple-rumped sunbird, red-whiskered bulbul, white-cheeked barbet, jungle babbler, and plum-headed parakeets.
Birdwatchers sighted house crow with nest and nestlings, Indian robin nests with eggs, and bronzed drongo constructing a nest. Migratory birds such as ashy drongo, barn swallow, booted eagle, grey wagtail, and Indian pitta were also sighted. Other birds such as grey-headed bulbul (which is a nearly threatened species), rufous babbler, and grey-headed bulbul were endemic to the Western Ghats, and nocturnal birds such as brown wood owl, barn owl, spotted owlet, nightjars (Savanna, Indian and Jerdon’s), and Sri Lanka frogmouth were also sighted
Survey trails were led by more than 60 students and research scholars from various gepartments of Mangalore University, including Applied Zoology, Biosciences, Microbiology, Botany, Physics, Chemistry, and Material Science. Some birdwatchers from St. Aloysius College were also involved.
Species counted The campus had recorded 77 species in 2016, 95 in 2017, and 110 in 2018. Last year, 107 species were recorded. Some of the common species such as rose-ringed parakeets, blue-tailed bee-eater, Nilgiri flowerpecker, and Indian roller sighted last year were not seen this year. “But with two new additions in this year’s bird count, the checklist of Mangalore University campus has been updated with a total of 141 species.” The birdwatchers also extinguished a fire noticed in the laterite grasslands on campus during the counting.