Neten Dorji | Trashigang

White-bellied heron (Ardea Insignis) was sighted for the first time along Kholongchhu in Trashiyangtse on April 12.

The lone bird was spotted at the black-necked crane rooting ground, between Dungzam to Kangteng Bridge.

“This is the first time heron has been spotted in Bumdeling,” said officiating chief forest officer, Tshering Dhendup.

The species was confirmed through binocular and physical observation.

Officials with Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary, however, could not tell whether the bird had migrated from others parts of the country.

“We have not been able to confirm whether the bird is a vagrant or a resident one,” said an official. “It has been feeding and perching on same location alongside the Kholongchhu bank.”

Official said, because of human exploitation and disturbances in riverine habitats, birds might have migrated to safer place and where river-having lots of fish and other species for feed.

According to officials, white-bellied heron was spotted at Jamkhardrang, below Gomphu Kora lhakhang few years back.

Heron has been recorded mostly in the central and southwest parts of the country.

White bellied heron is categorised as critically endangered and listed as protected species under Schedule I of Forest and Nature Conservation Rules and Regulation.

The estimated global population of the bird is 60. Bhutan has about 45 percent of the bird according to the 18th WBH population survey 2020.