East Asian birds make Andaman stopover

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  • Published
    24th Apr, 2019


  • For the 1st time, three new migratory birds form East Asia have been spotted in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • The migratory birds spotted were Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo, Zappey’s Flycatcher and Javan Pond Heron.
  • The Andaman and Nicobar island area is an essential stop over for migratory birds following the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.


  • A number of new sightings has increased post the 2004 Indonesian tsunami. The new records include the Mugimaki Flycatcher (Ficedulamugimaki), Blue-winged Pitta (Pitta moluccensis), Chinese Egret (Egrettaeulophotes) and the Chinese Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphoneincei).
  • During their migration from north to south, these birds make a stopover at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • These birds use Andaman and Nicobar Islands for a few week rest before they can fly along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF). The EAAF extends from Arctic Russia and North America to the south Australian boundaries and includes the most of the east Asian regions including Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands, with just about 0.25 % the country’s landmass, is home to about 350 species of exotic birds, according to an official estimate.
  • Horsefield’sBroze Cuckoo (ChalsitesBasalis)
  • Green and brown plumage on its back
  • Tiny bird – 15 cm and 22 g
  • Famous for its repeated, loud and piercing whistle.
  • Zappey’s Flycatcher (Cyanoptilacumatilis)
  • Song bird that breeds in China and spends the winters in the Malay peninsula, Sumatra and Java
  • Java Pond Heron (ArdeolaSpeciosa)
  • Found in Thailand and Cambodia.
  • Larger than Horsefield’sBroze Cuckoo and Zappey’s Flycatcher


  • Identifying flyways is an important measure towards joint conservation of the migratory birds as it passes through more than 30 countries during its annual cycle.
  • The flyways travelled by birds each spring and fall inspire our model for organizational alignment.

What is a flyway?

  • A flyway is a flight path used in bird migration. Flyways generally span over continents and often oceans.
  • The migration routes often follow a north-south axis covering more than 30 countries.
  • They are seasonal in the sense that they move to milder climates at lower latitudes during their non-breeding season.
  • Birldlife International has designated migratory routes as 8 flyways in the world.


Flyways in India :

  • India is an integral part of 3 flyways.About 370 species of migratory birds visit the Indian subcontinent mostly the wetlands of India as staging sites.

 1.       Central Asian Flyway

  • The Central Asian Flyway (CAF) covers a large continental area of Eurasia between the Arctic and Indian Oceans and the associated island chains.
  • The Flyway comprises several important migration routes of waterbirds, most of which extend from the northernmost breeding grounds in the Russian Federation (Siberia) to the southernmost non-breeding (wintering) grounds in West and South Asia, the Maldives and the British Indian Ocean Territory.

 2.       East Asian-Australasian Flyway

  • Encompasses 22 countries extending from Arctic Circle, through East and South-east Asia including eastern India and Andaman and Nicobar Islands., to Australia and New Zealand.
  • About 178 waterbird species use this migration path every year.

3.       Asian East African Flyway

  • It is a group of well-established routes by which many species of birds migrate annually between mid-Palearctic breeding grounds in Asia and non-breeding sites in eastern and southern Africa.

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