▲ The Blue-winged Pitta was recently spotted on Marado, which is a popular stopping point for migrating birds and the people who watch them.
An endangered birds species never before seen in Korea was recently spotted on Marado, off the south coast of Jeju Island.
According to the Jeju Wildlife Research Center and the Korea Association for Bird Protection of Jeju Office, the Blue-winged Pitta was spotted May 30 during their annual research on migrating birds on Marado.
Blue-winged Pitta inhabit subtropical and tropical moist lowland forest in southern China, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand and north Malaysia. The bird migrates at night and spends the winter in Sumatra, Borneo, and Singapore. The bird has not been seen in Japan and Taiwan.
The Blue-winged Pitta forages by flicking leaves aside with its bill to look for ants and earthworms. Compared to the Fairy pitta which has been observed in Korea, the Blue-winged Pitta has a bigger body, stronger bill and wider, blue wings. The black eye lines crossing both eyes are also wider than those of the Fairy pitta.
Kim Eun Mi, the Director of the Research Center said this proves that Marado is a place of call and an important route of migration for the birds. She said the Center will continue to observe and conduct research to forecast possible changes among migrant birds related to climate changes.
Kang Chang Wan, the president of the Korea Association for Bird Protection of Jeju Office, said the Blue-winged Pitta is an endangered species and listed on the Red List by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and needs special protection. He felt that further research should be carried out on Marado.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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