Marshland known to be abode of a significant number of winged visitors
CHENNAI: Members of the Madras Naturalists Society (MNS) recorded the sighting of more than half a dozen Fulvous Whistling duck or the Larger Whistling Teal at Pallikaranai marsh last week.
One of the members, K. Gnanaskandan, who photographed the bird, said that this is the first record of sighting the Whistling Duck in the wetland as well as Chennai.
The marshland is already known to be an abode of a significant number of winged visitors. This is yet another testimony to the fact that the importance of Pallikaranai marsh as a crucial bird habitat of the city is increasing, Mr. Gnanaskandan said.
The Fulvous Whistling duck is a pale brown duck which flocks in freshwater wetlands and feeds largely on shoots and grains besides small fish and snails. They are noisy birds and have a clear whistling call.
The sighting of the Fulvous Whistling duck is quite rare though the closely related and resembling Lesser Whistling duck is a very common bird in Tamil Nadu. The stoppage of burning of garbage could be reason for the marsh to attract these new visitors, said MNS members.
As new species are visiting the marsh every year – Flamingo, Osprey were spotted last year – completely stopping the dumping and burning may attract many more bird species in the coming years, they said.
The Pallikaranai marsh is home to migratory birds such as Plovers, Sandpipers, Stints, Avocets, Curlews and also local migrants such as the Painted Stork, Glossy Ibis, Grey heron, Open billed stork and White Ibis. Recently, a few other MNS birdwatchers also observed the nesting of the Black Winged stilts on the marsh, which is also the first record in Chennai.