Rare migratory bird spotted for first time in Taiwan

12/05/2020 04:53 PM
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Photo courtesy of Dachau Lin of Tainan
Photo courtesy of Dachau Lin of Tainan's bird watchers' group

Tainan, Dec. 5 (CNA) A migrating grey shrike, Lanius pallidirostris, which is usually seen in Central and South Asia and which has never been previously sighted in Taiwan, was recently spotted in Tainan City, according to a local bird watchers' group.

The bird, photographed by a bird watcher surnamed Yang (楊) at the Bajhang River estuary near the city's northern border with Chiayi County on Nov. 29, was first thought to be a Chinese grey shrike, the group said Friday.

However, after comparing existing information with the photos taken by Yang, the group noticed the bird was about five centimeters shorter than a Chinese great shrike and had no white spots on its wing feathers.

This led to the conclusion that it is a species of grey shrike, which has previously never been sighted in Taiwan.

Photo courtesy of Dachau Lin of Tainan
Photo courtesy of Dachau Lin of Tainan's bird watchers' group

As to how the bird ended up in Tainan, some 4,000 kilometers from where it is normally seen, the group speculated that it likely deviated from its migratory route because of its young age, which is a common reason for stragglers spotted in Taiwan.

The group said recent observations found the bird catches small crabs and mudskippers for food. They urged bird watchers not to feed it just for the opportunity to take photos and not to park their cars at locations that are inconvenient for local residents.

In other bird news, a rare albino Pacific swallow, was also recently seen in Tainan, where many migrating birds make a stop at this time of year.

Photo courtesy of Weng Yu-min
Photo courtesy of Weng Yu-min

It was noticed by elementary school teacher Weng Yu-min (翁育民) at the Anshun irrigation canal in Tainan's Annan District.

Weng, who often takes photos of birds in Taijiang National Park, which includes several coastal areas, said it was the first time he ever saw an albino sparrow.

(By Chang Jung-hsiang and Kay Liu)

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