Sighting of White-bellied Heron at Dagachhu Dam Site, Dagana

Two White-bellied Herons (WBH) were sighted at Dagachhu Hydro Power dam site on October 22, 2019, at around 10:32:01 AM when a team comprising of officials from Dagana Forest Division and Dagachhu Hydro Power Corporation (DHPC) visited the dam site at Gewthang under Kana Gewog for inspection of sand deposit in the dam area. However, the team couldn’t take the picture as the birds shied away or flew away to inaccessible areas. The forestry officials requested DHPC to monitor the bird through the management’s closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera installed at the dam site for security purposes. On October 31, 2019, DHPC while checking the footage found the image of WBH being captured on October 28, 2019, at around 08:50:56 AM at the same site.

Figure 1: A White-bellied Hero being captured by CCTV on sand deposition towards the upper side of the dam

Earlier in 2018, the image of WBH on the rooftop (Figure 2) claiming to be from the Dagachhu area was being shared among the forestry officials and the bird enthusiasts. However, it was left unreported since the source of the image and location of the sighting was not confirmed. This is the 3rd sighting of WBH around Dagachhu dam site.

Figure 2: A White-bellied Heron captured by CCTV on Dagachhu building rooftop in 2018

In Bhutan, the sightings of WBH are reported from Punatsangchhu and Mangdechhu river basins and their tributaries. The country is also known to host the highest number of WBH populations encompassing more than 45% (28 individuals) of the current global population. The presence of WBH along Dagachhu catchment has extended its habitat area in Bhutan.

Report prepared by: Sonam Yangden (Forestry Officer)
Submitted by: Kencho Dukpa (Chief Forestry Officer)
Dagana Forest Division, Dagapela, Dagana
Department of Forests and Park Services