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Mangrove pitta bird population rises in Odisha’s Bhitarkanika

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KENDRAPARA (ODISHA), April 22: Officials have reported an increase in the population of mangrove pitta birds during the latest bird census at Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha’s Kendrapara district.

Forest officials on Sunday released the mangrove pitta bird census report, which pegged their population at 218. This marks an increase of 39 compared to the previous census.

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Forest officials had sighted 179 mangrove pitta birds in 2023 during the first census of the species in Bhitarkanika.

The census was carried out on Saturday by around 80 forest personnel under the supervision of the forest range officers of Dangamala, Rajnagar, Mahakalapada, Gahirmatha, and Kujang forest ranges of the park.

The mangrove pitta are colourful birds which have a black head with brown crown, white throat, greenish upper parts, buff under-parts and reddish vent area.  It feeds on crustaceans, mollusks and insects, said Subhadarshani Pradhan, a mangrove pitta researcher.

This non-migratory resident bird, scientifically known as Pitta megarhyncha, thrives in Bhitarkanika, with its breeding season spanning from April to August. The abundance of fish and the distance from human habitation make Bhitarkanika an ideal breeding ground for these colourful birds, he added. (PTI)

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