A rare migratory eagle sighted near Vijayawada

‘Need for exploring diversity of avian life in State’

January 19, 2020 10:22 pm | Updated January 20, 2020 07:25 am IST - MACHILIPATNAM

Steppe eagle that was sighted in a paddy field at Velagaleru near Vijayawada.

Steppe eagle that was sighted in a paddy field at Velagaleru near Vijayawada.

A lone endangered steppe eagle (Aquila nipalensis) has been sighted by a group of birdwatchers in a paddy field at Velagaleru near Vijayawada.

The bird watchers -- Y. Sravanthi, Bala Subramanyam and Bandi Sekhar -- recorded the steppe eagle during the ‘Asian Waterbird Census’, a citizen science programme, recently.

Mr. Sekhar, citizen science coordinator of Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER-Tirupati), told The Hindu: “This is the second time to sight steppe eagle in Andhra Pradesh in the past two decades.”

“The sighting of the endangered species highlights the need for exploration of the diversity of avian life in the State. “Steppe eagle is believed to be the second-largest migratory eagle species to India,” said Mr. Sekhar. In winter, steppe eagle breeds in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia. The team of three bird watchers opined that the rare sighting of the species near Vijayawada city drives them to explore more species in the wetlands.

Conversion of open habitats to aquaculture, pesticides and various effluents are a few threats to the species. “The findings such as endangered species emphasise the need to plan extensive avian surveys in the landscapes within and outside the protected areas in the State,” said Mr. Sekhar.

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