Rare Bird — Gold-crested Myna

Umesh Srinivasan
An adult (left) and juvenile Gold-crested Myna

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

The northeastern states of our country remain the least explored, and the most likely to throw up bird surprises like this Gold-crested Myna. With a new species, the Bugun Liocichla, having been described from Arunachal Pradesh hardly five years back, and several new subspecies and distributional records coming out of the region, it is important that birdwatchers accurately report their records to further our knowledge of rare northeastern birds like the Gold-crested Myna.

Of all the Indian mynas, the Gold-crested Myna (Ampeliceps coronatus) is probably the most mysterious. Very rarely has this bird been sighted within Indian limits. Very little is known to the general public of its whereabouts, though it is regularly found in other countries like Thailand and Myanmar.

The definitive encyclopedia on Indian birds, Ali and Ripley’s Handbook, records two sightings from South Assam Hills (Cachar) and Manipur, and describes the bird to be “uncommon” and “little known or documented”.

We sighted a flock of about 10 birds in November 2008 in the Miao reserve forest in eastern Arunachal Pradesh, after a gap of decades! Of late, there have been other sightings. Birdwatchers in Assam saw a group of six birds in the Tinkupani forests in Assam in September 2011 and Raman Kumar of WII recorded them from Namdapha National Park in Dec 2011.

The northeastern states of our country remain the least explored, and the most likely to throw up bird surprises. With a new species, the Bugun Liocichla, having been described from Arunachal Pradesh hardly five years back, and several new subspecies and distributional records coming out of the region, it is important that birdwatchers accurately report their records to further our knowledge of rare northeastern birds like the Gold-crested Myna.


Note contributed by Umesh Srinivasan who is a PhD student from the Quader Lab, National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS). He is studying the impact of logging on bird communities in Arunachal Pradesh for his doctoral thesis.



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