Rarely spotted Mandarin Duck and Black-necked crane stop by in Assam

The attractive Mandarin duck has proven up in Assam after a century, a lot to the joy of the birding group, and it isn’t alone

“I couldn’t imagine it,” says Madhab Gogoi excitedly over the cellphone from Assam, about his shock date with the spectacular-looking hen within the early weeks of February. He was at Maguri-Motapung beel (wetland) in Tinsukia district, Assam, birdwatching within the wetlands when he seen a vibrant hen floating on the floor of the lake. Curious, he zoomed in along with his binoculars and realised that it was the Mandarin duck, a uncommon hen that was final seen in Assam within the 1900s.


“It was a historic second, because the hen has proven up after 120 years on the identical location. It was final noticed at Dibru river in Tinsukia in 1902. The streak of colors on the plumage, particularly the male in the course of the breeding season is a mind-boggling mixture of white, inexperienced, golden orange and blue. You’ll be able to name it the ‘queen’ amongst water birds,” says Gogoi.

The eBird web site, a platform that paperwork birds the world over, calls it a ‘small-exotic wanting hen’ native to East Asia, and describes the male as ‘very ornate with massive orangey ‘sail fins’ on the again, streaked orangey cheeks, and a small crimson invoice with a whitish tip.’

In line with birders like Jaydev Mandal, the duck “appears to have strayed from its common migratory path”. He says over name from Assam, “They breed in Russia, Korea, Japan and the northeastern components of China — because the title Mandarin additionally suggests. The species can also be present in western Europe and the US. The hen hardly ever visits India because the wintering grounds of the birds are Mongolia and China.”


  • After Assam, a lone Mandarin duck was noticed final week in Arunachal Pradesh at Siikhe lake, Ziro, a primary recognizing of this small and unique species within the State.
  • It’s suspected that it’s the identical duck from Assam’s Maguri Motapung wetland noticed earlier this month that has made a 300-kilometre journey to get there.

Jaydev spearheaded the second version of Bihu Fowl Depend that lined 27 districts and recorded 400 species of birds. “ We will name it a vagrant that briefly stopped by on the identical location the place it was final seen within the twentieth Century, making it a document sighting.”

“Perhaps it’s an off-the-cuff sighting” says Nilutpal Mahanta, a PhD scholar at Gauhati College and an avid birder. “If one research the migratory pathways listed on ebird, we study that this hen will not be a winter customer to India. The birds that flock wintering grounds in India take the Central Asian Flyway, and Mandarin geese don’t take that route.

It might even be a species that escaped from an unlawful wildlife dealer. The geese is commonly captured and traded due to its magnificence. Unlawful buying and selling of unique species is rampant alongside China, Bangladesh, and Myanmar border,” he provides.

Uncommon sightings

Naturalists suspect that local weather adjustments and habitat destruction have triggered a spate of uncommon sightings in Assam. A pair of black-necked cranes have been additionally sighted within the countryside of the outskirts of the Panbari vary of Manas Nationwide Park, a first-ever document in Assam.

Black-necked crane sighted at Manas Nationwide Park, Assam.
| Photograph Credit score:
Nilutpal Mahanta

Explains Nilutpal, “It’s a medium-sized crane that breeds on the Tibetan Plateau and distant components of India and Bhutan. They’ve been largely recorded in excessive altitudes of Jimithang and Sangti valley in western components of Arunachal Pradesh in India. Locals of Panbari have named hen deu korchon (Deu means associated to God and mythology, and Korchon means crane) because it has mythological significance in Buddhist tradition.”

Although the setting turned secure within the final yr with much less air pollution, habitat destruction is a reason for fear, says Nilutpal. “In January, we additionally noticed the hardly ever seen Indian golden oriole in Assam. Such uncommon sightings make us completely happy but in addition depart us confused,” he explains.

Gogoi is completely happy; the looks of Mandarin duck has kick-started a dialogue on conservation. “Of the 1,200 birds that may be seen in India, over 900 species are discovered within the Northeast a part of India, together with Assam and Mizoram. Birders throng to Assam to see resident beauties like gray peacock pheasant and white winged wooden duck,” he says. Then provides, “However the great thing about Mandarin has left not simply the naturalists, but in addition most people speechless. It has impressed them to offer a critical considered conservation. It’s heartening.”

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