Forest Owlet spotted in central India mountains

The critically endangered Forest Owlet, which was till now considered to be endemic to the Satpuda mountain ranges in central India, has now been spotted in Western Ghats by naturalists.

PTI| Last Updated: Nov 28, 2014, 19:34 PM IST

Kolkata: The critically endangered Forest Owlet, which was till now considered to be endemic to the Satpuda mountain ranges in central India, has now been spotted in Western Ghats by naturalists.

The elusive bird was recently spotted in Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary in Palghar District of Maharashtra by naturalist Sunil Laad, officials of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) said.

"I am extremely delighted to know about the discovery of this extremely rare bird so close to Mumbai. I hope the authorities will take proper steps to protect the Forest Owlet in Tansa," BNHS director Dr Asad Rahmani said.

For nearly 113 years, forest owlet was considered to be extinct, until researchers rediscovered it in 1997 in Toranmal Reserve Forest in the Satpuda ranges.

Ornithologist Girish Jathar said this species was for long known to be endemic to Satpuda ranges and has now been recorded in northern Western Ghats.

Since the bird has been found significantly outside (250 km southwards) its earlier known range, reassessment of its earlier known distribution range is necessary, he said.

It is a critically endangered bird according to IUCN's Red List.