Rare firethroat bird

A bird ringing camp took place on 19 February 2012. Everyone was keen to catch sight of the firethroat.

A female firethroat in the Sundarbans recently.
Asker Ibn Firoz

Tanguar Haor has always been in the news because of various migratory birds. It is the favourite location of bird-watchers in winter. Lechuayamara is one of wetlands of Tanguar Haor. About 100,000 migratory ducks gather in the haor. Very few water bodies see such huge flocks of birds in Asia.

A large-scale bird ringing camp was arranged on 19 February 2012 at this haor. Everyone was particularly keen to know about the firethroat ('lal-gola fidda' in Bangla) . The throat of the male bird is fully red. It was known that firethroat the was sighted in Tanguar haor. Renowned bird researchers Philip Round, Andrew Pierce, Bill Jones and Nick Dymond joined the ringing camp.

Everyone was excited from the first day of the ringing camp. Every day the campers awoke at dawn, around 4:00am, then went to the camp station. Early morning on the second day, Andrew shouted out. A firethroat was caught in the net! Everyone was so excited. It was amazing to see the bird in early winter morning sunlight. I realised the passion that had brought the British researchers far to Tanguar. Catching sight of such a bird is indeed a matter of luck. That year, we banded two firethroats.

Firethroat is my favourite among the grassbirds. Ten years have passed since the bird ringing camp. We go every year in search of firethroat. Many researchers have come from all over the world to catch sight of the rare red-throated bird.

Researchers know very little about the firethroat. The birds are said to breed in a region of China. They are seen in south-east Tibet, Myanmar and the haor areas of Bangladesh. Recently the bird was said to be found in the Sundarbans of Bangladesh and the northern region of Thailand. According to Birdlife International, currently there are 10,000 firethroats in the world.

The most rare species among the migratory grassbirds of Bangladesh, this bird is currently considered near to extinction.

It’s very difficult for this bird to stay without dense grass lands. The dense grass fields in Tanguar Hoar are perfect for the firebird.

*Simanto Dipu is a wildlife researcher. This feature appeared in the print edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten for the English edition by Hasanul Banna