Naturalists working with the BNHS spotted the critically endangered Forest Owlet in Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary. Tansa is an Important Bird Area (IBA) that is situated in Palghar district of Maharashtra.
Atul Sathe, Manager of Communications in BNH India, said that this sighting of owlet is important to us and more studies need to be carried out to discover its presence in similar habitats of northern Western Ghats.
Today, when forests are withering and the Western Ghats stand as no exception, the discovery of Forest Owlet (earlier known as Athene blewitti) shows that hopes for the survival of biodiversity have not completely vanished.
This year in October, former BNHS employee and naturalist Sunil Laad was on a visit to the Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary with some of his companions. In the morning, he sighted the Forest Owlet sitting comfortably on a tree. Since the spotted owlet had unspotted crown, dark primaries, broadly banded tail and breast covered with collar, Sunil could easily differentiate it from the common ones (Scientific Name: Athene Brama).
According to Sunil and his companions, the calls of Forest Owlet were audible even from seven km away.
Mr. Arun Sathe said that the bird has been located by naturalists outside (250 km southwards) its previously known range; thus, it is significant to reassess its earlier known distribution range.
He further added that authorities had declared this bird extinct, but researchers discovered it again in 1997 in Toranmal Reserve Forest close to Shahada, a region situated in the Satpuda ranges in Nandurbar district of Maharashtra.