The gardens of Lotus Panache Society got a rare visitor recently, something that got the local bird lovers really excited. It was an Orange-headed thrush, a beautiful species of bird, though not very uncommon but still a rarity for the concrete jungle of Noida.
Had a special visitor the other day - an Orange-headed Thrush: First & only sighting in #LotusPanache – you made my day buddy? Unusual record for the concrete jungle of Noida https://t.co/3blQyKlCKX @nisharai_ggc @vivek4wild @prchandna @kavi_ta_gupta @Noida7x @noida_authority pic.twitter.com/39jAVkcQ8h— Dr Pranab J Patar (@PJP_2013) November 8, 2021
It was early in the morning when a resident Dr. Pranab J Patar, an environmentalist, had a sighting of an Orange-headed Thrush bird in the gardens of Lotus Panache society of 110. According to Pranab, it was a rare sighting, especially for the core Noida region. “The sighting of this bird has not been reported from the residential colonies of Noida, though they are sometimes spotted at the Okhla bird sanctuary and Surajpur wetlands.”
The Orange-headed Thrush is common in well-wooded areas of the Indian- subcontinent and southeast areas. The species shows a preference for shady damp areas and like many Thrushes, it can be quite secretive.
Dr Pranab J Patar, an environmentalist and a resident of Lotus Panache, who witnessed this rare sighting, says, “The sighting of this bird in my neighbourhood made it a very rewarding morning for me. This local migrant must have reached here from the Himalayas looking for better habitat, food, and warmer weather to avoid the snowy cold mountains."
Pranab explained that though it's not an endangered species, there are reports of it getting lesser in numbers due to habitat loss and forest fragmentation. He was of the opinion that the proximity of Lotus Panache to well-forested Maharshi Ashram and University in Sec 110 of Noida bestows them with better ambiance and lots of birdlife.
"In nearly 5 years of stay in this place, I have sighted up to 40 species that includes - Indian peafowl, Shikra, Honey Buzzard, Egyptian vulture, Jungle Babbler, Rock Brown Chat, Ashy Prinia, Indian silverbill, Barn swallow, Barn owl to name a few. All these sightings were done from the comfort of my society without having to travel to a sanctuary or a national park. The reason is the beautiful green cover in the middle of the ever-growing Noida city. Authorities should consider conserving the existing blue and green spaces besides creating newer city forests”.
He added, "If I don't see this bird again around our place (which I haven't so far), I would assume that it was a stray bird, taking a small stop-over en-route to some other place - maybe to a common and popular destination among these birds."
Col Shyam Sundar Sharma, 55, who has been an avid bird watcher ever since he was a kid says, “The Orange-headed thrush is not common but not very rare either. It is a secretive kind of bird so generally not seen in open areas. This bird is not common in this area. It is a local migration bird and they come to a place where habitat is promising if they are getting the right environment. This is a season of migration and many such birds make a stopover in Delhi and NCR on their way to better habitats.”
Shyam also reconfirmed it from the e-bird site which transforms your bird sightings into science and conservation and found that yes it is a rare sighting from Noida.
Jaswinder Waraish, 55, a Noida-based birdwatcher said, “Yes, it is a rare sighting since they are only found in open forest habitats. In Noida orange-head thrush is not common. In Okhla also it is not common since its habitat is not matching. It is common in Aravali forest in Gurgaon, Sultanpur National park again in Gurgaon and all other places where there is open forest”.
How to identify an Orange-headed thrush
The orange-headed thrush is a bird in the thrush family, commonly found in well-wooded areas of the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The adult male of the nominate subspecies of this small thrush has an entirely orange head and underparts, uniformly grey upperparts and wings, and white median and under tail coverts. The juvenile is dull brown with buff streaks on its back, grey wings, and a rufous tone to the head and face. On the other hand, the female resembles the male but has browner or more olive upperparts and warm brown wings, but some old females are almost identical to the male.