Thiruvananthapuram

Rare visitor to Punchakkari

A spot-billed pelican that was sighted in the Punchakkari wetlands.

A spot-billed pelican that was sighted in the Punchakkari wetlands.  

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Spot-billed pelican sighted twice early this week

The Punchakkari wetlands, a birding hot spot on the outskirts of the capital city, are playing host to the spot-billed pelican.

The comparatively large swimming bird with webbed feet, a sub-mandibular pouch that is pink in colour, and a short, broad tail was first sighted and photographed on Sunday by S. Kumar Karamana, bird enthusiast and scientist at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Valiamala, during his visit to Punchakkari in search of birds.

Mr. Kumar, who is also a wildlife photographer, along with Biju P.B, visited the wetlands again on Monday and was able to sight the bird and photograph it .

The previous sightings of the bird here were in 2002 and 2004 during the Asian Waterfowl Census conducted by the city-based birders, the Warblers and Waders.

There are records of sightings in 1992 December too, according to the WWF-India.

Though Vellayani Lake and the adjacent Punchakkari paddy fields are a major landing site for several migratory birds and home to many resident birds, the spot-billed pelican is a rare winter visitor.

At Akkulam

The pelican was also reported by C. Susanth in January 2013 from Akkulam Lake, another wetland facing severe degradation and other threats.

The sighting of the bird reinforces the ecological significance of the Punchakkari-Vellayani wetland complex and the need for its protection, WWF-India said.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 1:44:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/rare-visitor-to-punchakkari/article6810860.ece

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