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Spiny Babbler: The Endemic Bird of Nepal

Spiny Babbler: The Endemic Bird of Nepal

Spiny Babbler

This photograph of Spiny Babbler was taken at Stupa Village, Pokhara Valley, Nepal. Photographer: Sanjib Acharya. Image courtesy: Oriental Bird Images.


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By Mithu Das   January 09, 2021


Spiny Babbler—local name Kaande Bhyakur—is the only endemic bird species found in Nepal.


Nepal is not only famous for its snow-peaked massive mountains, high green hills, beautiful lakes and rivers, but also for its rich biodiversity. Its avifauna has ranked 26th in the world. More than 822 species of birds are found in Nepal. About 38 of them are endangered. Spiny Babbler—local name Kaande Bhyakur—is the only endemic bird species found in Nepal.

[An endemic species (or restricted-range species) is a species of animals, birds or plants which is found in a certain area but nowhere else in the earth.]

Spiny Babbler (Acanthoptila nipalensis) was scientifically described by British naturalist Brian Hodgson in 1830. After that this bird had never been seen again in the wild for more than one hundred years. Many people thought that it had gone extinct. Then, in 1940, it was rediscovered by famous American ornithologist S. Dillon Ripley in west Nepal.

Spiny Babbler
This drawing of Spiny Babbler was made by a Class VIII student of Shree Bhagrati Academy, Dipayal-Silgadhi, Doti, Nepal.

Today, Spiny Babbler can be seen around Kathmandu valley, central west Nepal, northeastern part of the country and southwest Nepal. According to the distribution map of Birdlife International, this babbler may be seen in Sudurpaschim Pradesh too. Every year many bird lovers and naturalist come to Nepal to see this rare bird in the wild.

Spiny Babbler is a brown-coloured bird that has a length of 28cm (11 inches). Its chin and throat are white, and underparts is well streaked. They are terribly shy birds. So it is very difficult to spot them in the wild. However, during the breeding season (April to June) we can see these birds in the open field or hear the male singing.

According to Birdlife International, Spiny Babbler is not an endangered species. However, it is thought that the habitats of this bird may be slowly dwindling. It is our duty to protect these birds and their habitats.


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