Tamil Nadu

Pectoral sandpiper, which breeds in North America, Siberian Arctic spotted in T.N.

A pectoral sandpiper that was spotted at Achankulam near Coimbatore.  

A pectoral sandpiper (Calidris melanotos), which mainly breeds in the North American and Siberian Arctic, was spotted for the first time in Tamil Nadu, on the shores of a tank in Coimbatore.

Birders D. Gajamohanraj and Sharang Sathish spotted the bird at Achankulam, a tank located 20 km from Coimbatore city, on October 15. Praveen J. and Ashwin Viswanathan of Bird Count India confirmed the identity of the sandpiper.

“The sighting is the first record of pectoral sandpiper in Tamil Nadu and the fifth in India. In India, the bird has previously been spotted in Harike, Punjab, and at three locations in Kerala,” Mr. Viswanathan said.

According to Mr. Praveen, the previous sightings of the bird in Kerala and the Andaman were in the coastal regions. Mr. Gajamohanraj and Mr. Sathish spotted the medium-sized wader feeding in the company of little stints and wood sandpipers at the tank. They photographed the unusual visitor.

“Our initial impression of the bird was of a long-toed stint, but it did not seem to match in structure and size. Another possibility was ruff. But this bird had distinctly different upper parts colouration and pattern, apart from the different bill colour. Our familiarity with these aforementioned species allowed us to conclude that this was a bird we had not seen before in the field,” they said.

According to them, the unique features of the bird include elongated body, de-curved bill with orange base, bright yellow legs, long primary projection and strong breast streaking demarcated against a bright white belly.

“Pectoral sandpipers breed in the Siberian and North American Arctic. During the non-breeding season, they migrate mostly to South America but also to parts of Australia and New Zealand. Pectoral sandpipers are known to wander outside their migratory routes but it is very rare to see them in India, especially inland,” Mr. Viswanathan said.

Mr. Praveen added that the one individual, which the two birders spotted at Achankulam, could have made a stopover en route to its migratory destination.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 6:18:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/pectoral-sandpiper-which-breeds-in-north-america-and-asia-spotted-in-tn/article37100410.ece

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