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I first caught the sight of the bird beside the Indian gooseberry bush at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University, Gazipur. But I couldn’t take the picture since I didn’t have the camera with me at that time.

Though I took pictures when the bird was sighted for the second time but I was not satisfied. So, I went to Arakul of South Kareniganj in Dhaka on a winter morning. But I was disheartened. Nothing was visible even a yard ahead. Fig had enshrouded the place.

Despite this, I continued to walk through the fog. The sun shone after two hours of waiting. And the bird also appeared. It was wagging its tail merrily standing on the waste dump area near the turkey farm. Where would it go now? And I kept taking pictures ecstatically.

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It was a rare migratory bird Siberian rubythroat, (‘lal gola’ or ‘gumpigora’ in Bangla). Its scientific name is Calliope calliope and of the Muscicapidae family. Its main habitat spreads over Mongolia, Japan, and the northern region of Korea and the central region of China via Siberia. It migrates to various countries of South and Southeast Asia including Bangladesh, Taiwan and the Philippines in winter.

The rubythroat is 14-16 centimetres long and weighs 16-29 grams. The upper part of the adult bird is olive brown. Both sides of chest and abdomen are slightly yellowish-brown. Th abdomen and under-tail is white. Its super-cilium is long and white. Its eyes are brown with black pupils. There is a white stripe below the beak and the eyes. Its beak is black. Its feet and claws are fleshy and pinkish or slightly brownish. The feathers of the female and the male bird differs very little. The male bird has bright red mark on the neck and female has a white mark.

This bird is sighted in shadowy dense bushes, grasslands, and scrubs near marshy land in the country in winter. They are very shy. They tend to stay alone or in pairs in bushes. Their favorite food are insects and larvae. They can also eat snail and small fruits. They chirp “chuk” and “chick- chick”.

ANM Aminur Rahman is a professor at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University, Gazipur.

This feature appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten for the English edition by Hasanul Banna

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