J&K all set to get its new official bird: Exit Black Necked Crane, enter Kashmir Flycatcher

Srinagar, Feb 21: Jammu and Kashmir government is all set to declare Kashmir Flycatcher (Ficedula subrubra) as an official bird of new Union Territory (UT).
Kashmir Flycatcher will replace Black Necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) which was the state bird of united Jammu and Kashmir before it was reorganized into two union territories on August 5.
A highly endangered species, Kashmir Flycatcher (Ficedula subrubra), is mostly found in the upper reaches of the valley.
According to the official data of Wildlife department Jammu and Kashmir and SKAUST, around 550 species of local birds have been listed so far.
Professor SKAUST and co-founder of Jammu and Kashmir Birdwatchers Club, Dr Khursheed Ahmad said the stubby little Flycatcher is endemic to Kashmir.
“The declaration of Kashmir flycatcher as the state bird is to ensure the much needed conservation of the local species which is declining by the day. The proposal has been sent to centre and official announcement will be made soon,” he said
Dr Khursheed said the bird breeds at an altitude of 1800-2700 meters, favoring deciduous forest with dense undergrowth. “It migrates to parts of Southern India in winters and comes back to its breeding ground in the spring,” he said.
The identified sites for Kashmir flycatcher in the valley are Dachigam National Park, Overa Aru Wildlife Sanctuary, and Shikargah area in Tral.
De Khursheed noted that the local bird has become vulnerable with decreasing population and breeding range. The range has been severely fragmented because of the destruction of temperate mixed deciduous forests by commercial timber extraction, agriculture and livestock grazing.
“Unfortunately, no study has been done in the valley to know about its population. It’s a data deficient bird,” he said.

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