A Study in Blue
Meet the busiest bird in the North-eastern Himalayan region – the Yellow-billed Blue Magpie (Urocissa flavirostris), often referred to as Megma by the locals. A passerine bird of the Corvidae family, this gregarious bird loves to forage noisily in groups and is categorized as ‘Least Concern’ in the IUCN Redlist
Have you ever heard about a village called Megma? Hardly a few have. But if I talk about Singalila National Park, you all do. The Singalila is also famous for its famous trekking route to Sandakphu-Phalut. Every year, thousands of trekkers pass through this road. They begin their journey from Manyebhanjyang and make their first night halt at Tumbling. The village Megma is just before Tumbling. I wondered why the name of this enchaning place was Megma?
In a chilly early morning of December 2014. I was standing beside the road from Megma to Tumbling to catch some landscape images of the sunrise over Mount Kanchanjangha. Suddenly, I felt that I was not alone. Thousands of friends had joined me, they were coming out from every bush and tree. Those friends were feathery and perhaps one of the most beautiful birds of that particular region of Alpine Himalayas. Those bright blue color with yellowish-orange beaks made them eye-soothing to every bird watchers. Yes, those were Megma, the yellow-billed Blue Magpie, the abundance of which had led to the nomenclature of the place.
One of the busiest bird of India, the yellow-billed Blue Magpie loves to spend their time in flocks. They have a tendency to spend their time besides humans, and that’s probably for foraging for food. They usually find their food in the garbages, just like crows. Although their diet chart comprises insects, frogs, snake, lizard, honey, fruits, eggs of other birds, and whatnot. They are courageous and allow humans to approach very close. Their breeding time is from April to August. The plumage is spectacular. Yellowish-orange beak, orange-ish leg, head, neck, throat are purely black, white-collar, Belli is greyish-white, and back and tail are bluish-purple. Although the voice is pathetic.
From 2014, I have visited Tumbling 3 times to date, and these lovely friends of mine always give me some spectacular pose. Lastly, but not the least, they are increasing rapidly, as they are like children of the villagers of Megma and Tumbling, and hence protected by locals.