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| Last Updated:03/11/2018

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Australian owlet-nightjar rescued

 Source: Imphal Free Press

 THOUBAL| Oct 22 : Staff and officials of Kakching Range office saved an Australian owlet-nightjar (Aegotheles cristatus) on October 22. The migratory bird was rescued by ex-chairperson, Kakching Municipal Corporation, M. Inakhunbi Devi, when she spotted the bird was about to be eaten by a dog. “The whiskered owlet nightjar will be freed to a suitable place tonight,” said RFO, Kakching, N. Munal Meitei. Australian Owlet-nightjars are medium sized and usually 8 to 10 inches in length but the most attractive part of the bird is the stout like feathers called whiskers on the face with downward direction on both sides of the beak. Usually found in open woodland across Australia and in southern New Guinea, the Australian owlet-nightjar is also colloquially known as the moth owl with its peculiar habit of chasing diets like moths and insects which are attracted by the light reflected from its eyes. Another peculiarity of the bird is that finding them at night with a light is almost impossible for unlike most nocturnal animals, which have large light reflecting eyes, Owlet-nightjars, while they do have large eyes, do not reflect torchlight at all. It might be mentioned here that the Australian Owlet-nightjar has been hardly counted during the past many bird censuses in Manipur, but the presence of the bird at the onset of this year’s season is a good sign for the eco-system and nature lovers of the State. Most of the migratory birds that come to Manipur are the ones that migrate on a longitudinal basis especially from regions in the Northern Hemisphere such as Siberia, but the arrival of the owlet nightjar from Australia is indicative enough of the latitudinal migration of birds to the state.