Sooty Gull snapped at Kodi

The Sooty gull spotted and photographed by birder D. Swethadri at Kodi near Kundapur in Udupi district on October 3, 2014. Photo Courtesy: D Swethadri  

A birder from Bangalore has not just spotted a Sooty Gull ( Larus hemprichii) at Kodi village near Kundapur in Udupi district but also managed to get a few snaps of it. It is said to be the first sighting of the Sooty gull on the State’s coast.

D. Swethadri, birder and wildlife photographer, spotted the bird at Kodi at around 8.30 a.m. on October 3. Mr. Swethadri and his friend, Pranesh Kodancha, were involved in bird watching and photographing on a boat at Kodi, when they saw the Sooty Gull. Mr. Swethadri immediately took a few snaps of the bird.

Other birds such as the Brahminy Kite, the Reef Herons, Greater-crested Terns, Whimbrels and Little Cormorants too were seen along with the Sooty Gull.

Mr. Swethadri, a civil engineer, who runs his own company in Bengaluru, told The Hindu that when he first saw the bird, he thought it was just a gull.

“It was pure luck that I not only chanced upon to see the Sooty Gull but also got some decent shots of it. The Sooty Gull flew over my head and then, it returned. It was only when I saw the shots closely that I learnt that it was a Sooty Gull. I got the shots confirmed from other birders also,” Mr. Swethadri said.

Praveen J., another birder from Bengaluru and coordinator of, confirmed that as per existing records, it is the first sighting of a Sooty Gull on the State’s coast.

He also confirmed that that there were very few sightings of Sooty Gulls in other States.

“The snaps taken by Mr. Swethadri are the first known photographic record of Sooty Gull from India. I have told Mr. Swethadri to write about this sighting to the journal, Indian Birds, so that is scientifically documented for posterity,” Mr. Praveen said. On the importance of sighting of a Sooty Gull near Kundapur, Mr. Praveen said that it only meant that there might be other birds, which might not have been sighted. “Since the number of birders has increased, we are spotting hitherto ‘untraced birds’,” he said.

M. Shivashankar, birder and wildlife photographer from Karkala, said that he was thrilled when Mr. Swethadri forwarded the snaps of the Sooty Gull to him. “I was very happy to see this because the Sooty Gull is a very rare winter visitor,” he said.

The Sooty Gull is found in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, East to South Pakistan and South to Northern Kenya (Kiunga Islands), according to BirdLife International.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 5:47:55 PM |

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