Birds of India: Rarities - Asian Stubtail

Asian Stubtail ~ a first for India
Kolkata, West Bengal

Sandip Das & Sumit K. Sen 

The Asian Stubtail is a small, short-tailed, monotypic species of Old World warbler in the Sylviidae family. It breeds in the temperate deciduous forests and mixed woodlands of the eastern Palearctic and winters primarily in the moist broadleaf evergreen forests of Southeast Asia from south China to Myanmar in the west.  
Size: 9-10.5cm
Food: They mainly feed on the ground on spiders and other insects and small invertebrates.

The species is categorized as a threatened species at some of the breeding populations. 

This sighting represents the 1st record of the species from India as per available records and the first photographically authenticted record from the subcontinent. Previous sightings from the subcontinent include a record from southeast Nepal in 1993 and a couple from Lawachara forest, Bangladesh in 1997 and 1999. Some authorities feel that these records need further corroboration.
Edit: Sayam U. Chowdhury has since shared a link to an image of a putative Asian Stubtail seen at Madhobkunda Waterfall, Kulaura, Bangladeah in Jan 2011. 6/11/13.

Threat status: Least Concern

Sighting Record

Name: Asian Stubtail

Scientific name:
Urosphena squameiceps

Date: 3rd November 2013 at about 1.30pm

Place: Rabindra Sarobar, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

Lat/Lon: 22.51307, 88.35904

Observed and reported by: Sandip Das

Identification support: The birds were identified with the help of Peter Kennerley, Philip Round, Praveen J. and Arka Sarkar.
Selected comments:

Peter Kennerley:
“Yes, this is definitely Asian Stubtail. A long-distance migrant so a likely candidate for vagrancy.”

Philip. D. Round: “Congratulations!  Looks very solidly like Asian Stubtail to me.”

Kolkata, India

References and acknowledgements:
1. Reed and Bush Warblers - Peter Kennerley and David Pearson
2. Birds of South Asia - The Ripley Guide ~ Pamela C. Rasmussen
Lewis, A. (1994) Asian Stubtail Urosphena squameiceps: a new species for Nepal and the Indian subcontinent. Forktail 9: 155.
Thompson, Paul M.; Johnson, David L. (2003) Further notable bird records from Bangladesh. Forktail 19: 85-102
Birds of the World
8. The Telegraph, Calcutta story


Image copyright: Photographer
Recommended citation:
Birds of India ( Asian Stubtail - a first record for India 2013 at by S. Dey &  S. Sen


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