Kerala

Migrant birds found over-summering at Kadalundi, Kappad

A flock of Whimbrels found over-summering on the Kappad beach.

A flock of Whimbrels found over-summering on the Kappad beach.  

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They stay back in their wintering grounds when they are either physically or sexually unfit

Dozens of migrant shorebirds that reached the country’s West Coast to escape the harsh winter in regions such as Siberia, Scotland and Mongolia are over-summering at Kadalundi and Kappad.

While major flocks have returned to their habitats for breeding, many shorebirds chose to stay back largely because they were unfit.

Steady number

“Migrant birds over-summer or stay back in their wintering grounds when they are either physically or sexually unfit. In Kadalundi, we have found a steady number of birds staying back every year,” said K.M. Aarif, researcher at the Czech University of Life Science, whose study on the foraging habits of the shorebirds reaching Kadalundi had won him a doctoral degree.

A recent observation conducted by a three-member team comprising T.R. Athira, researcher from Madappalli Government College; P.K. Sujesh, researcher from Mampad MES College; and Dr. Aarif found a small flock of whimbrels at Kappad.

Ms. Athira and Mr. Sujesh said that the whimbrels had reached the Kerala coast in October-November last year and chose not to join their mother flock in their return flight to their breeding grounds in subarctic regions.

“We can’t exactly say why they stayed back. But we can say for sure that their wintering destinations like Kadalundi and Kappad are rich enough to cater to them throughout the year,” said Ms. Athira.

The research team observed several Lesser sand plovers and Common greenshanks and a few Whimbrels at Kadalundi. Lesser sand plover is the most popular migrant shorebird reaching Kadalundi every year.

Dr. Aarif, who studied the shorebirds reaching Kadalundi since 2005, said that he had found such birds as Greater sand plover, Common red shank, Common green shank, Whimbrel, Ruddy turnstone, Kentish plover, Common sand piper and Pacific golden plover over-summering at Kadalundi.

Unique mangroves

“Kadalundi will never disappoint a migrant shorebird. The mudflats there are heavily rich in various invertebrate fauna on which the shorebirds feed. The mangrove ecosystem, which is unique to Kadalundi, too is complimentary for the migrants,” said Dr. Aarif.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 12:50:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/migrant-birds-found-over-summering-at-kadalundi-kappad/article28763319.ece

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