THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Eurasian Hobby, a slender falcon, has been spotted in Kerala for the first time, said Dr Abhilash A K, a veterinary surgeon, who photographed it in flight above the Punchakkari wetlands.
“I was almost sure it was a juvenile female Amur falcon until I analysed the photograph,” he said.
The two birds are remarkably similar. However, the bird in Abhilash’s photograph has longer moustachial stripes on either side of the beak and thicker black stripes on its belly. Abhilash posted the photograph on a facebook community called ‘Bird Watchers of Kerala’ and other birders confirmed it was a Eurasian Hobby. Abhilash was on the hunt to photograph a perched Amur Falcon. “I wanted the photo of an Amur Falcon perched somewhere. It’s over two year since I have been out looking for it.” Make that three years. All those years, he has been trying to click the ever-evasive bird resting somewhere.
This time too the bird was in flight. It was not Amur Falcon, but Abhilash was not disappointed. The Hobby, distributed across Europe and Asian countries close to Europe border, has never been spotted in Kerala. “This is the first recorded sighting of the bird in Kerala. Even if the bird was spotted in Kerala earlier, many would have mistaken it for other raptors,” he said.
The Eurasian Hobby looks similar to other raptors such as Amur Falcon, Oriental Hobby and the common falcon.
He said the sighting does not signify a positive or negative change in the habitat. “No conclusion can be drawn from the sighting. We can base it only on the frequency of future sightings,” he said.