Coimbatore’s Kurichi tank turns home to long distance migrant bird Greater sand-plover

September 27, 2023 09:14 pm | Updated 11:21 pm IST - COIMBATORE

A Greater sand-plover that was photographed by Coimbatore Nature Society member Naveen Kumar S. at Kurichi tank in Coimbatore recently.

A Greater sand-plover that was photographed by Coimbatore Nature Society member Naveen Kumar S. at Kurichi tank in Coimbatore recently. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Greater sand-plover (Charadrius leschenaultii), a long distance migrant bird that normally prefers sea shores, has been spotted in an urban tank in Coimbatore.

The bird was sighted and photographed by R. Karthikeyan, a biologist attached to non-governmental organisation Arulagam, at Kurichi tank on September 14.

Birders from the Coimbatore Nature Society (CNS) led by its president Selvaraj P.R. spotted the bird in the same tank on September 24.  CNS member Naveen Kumar S., who photographed the bird, said that it was found along with group of commonly seen Lesser sand-plovers.

“Greater sand-plovers are known for long distance migration. The sighting at Kurichi tank could possibly be a rare record of the species in Coimbatore,” Mr. Selvaraj said.

According tosenior CNS member G. Prakash, Greater sand-plover winters in coastal mudflats and estuaries during the non-breeding season or the migration season.

It breeds during April to May in central Asia, late March to late May in Turkey and upto late June in Armenia. It winters in the shores of Indian and Australian Oceans after the breeding. The bird’s diet consists of beetles, worms, crustaceans, molluscs, other insects and their larvae.

Mr. Prakash said water bodies in Coimbatore, including Kurichi tank, are likely to witness more rare birds during the ongoing migration season as water levels have receded, offering shores and shallow water areas for waders and plovers.

“Water levels in tanks in the city have decreased considerably for the first time since 2017, owing to poor rains. Birders like us are expecting more unusual visitors till February,” he said.

Recently, a Red-necked phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus), a shore bird that breeds in the Arctic region, was sighted in Kurichi tank when it possibly made a stopover during migration. The bird was seen in the tank for four to five days after which it is believed to have flown to a coastal destination.

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