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Endangered birds White eye pochard, Darters spotted in Udaipur wetlands

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Spotting the endangered birds after long time in the region is a positive sign which indicates healthy condition of our wetlands.

White eye pochard or the Ferruginous duck,  birds belonging to the most rare and critically endangered species from Eurasia, has been spotted in encouraging number in Udaipur’s pichhola lake. Birders are excited to sight these birds which is one of the smallest variety of ducks. Another variety which has been spotted nestling here are the Darters or the snake birds which had been rarely visible since more than a decade.

The birds had been coming in small flocks since two years and now they are seen nestling at the Menar waterland which is outskirts of Udaipur. Spotting the endangered birds after long time in the region is a positive sign which indicates healthy condition of our wetlands, experts opine.

‘White eye pochard is characterized by white stripes on its wings and the bottom part of its abdomen is white too. The species is usually active at night. They were seen here last in early 90’s but later on never spotted’  Satya Prakash Mehra, an ornithologist informed. 

The adult male is a rich chestnut colour with a darker back and a yellow eye. The pure white undertail helps to distinguish this species from the somewhat similar Tufted Duck. The female is similar but duller, and with a dark eye. These birds feed mainly by diving or dabbling.

They eat aquatic plants and insects and small fish. Another ornithologist Sunil Dubey informed ‘ Anhingas or the Snakebird/Darter even known as Water Turkey, is a water bird of the warmer parts of the America.  It is a dark-plumaged piscivore with a very long neck, and often swims with only the neck above water.

When swimming in this style the name Snakebird is apparent, since only the colored neck appears above water the bird looks like a snake ready to strike. They do not have external nostrils and breathe solely through their epiglottis.

The lake city which  boasts of at least 400 species of birds within 100KM vicinity, is surrounded by many wetlands, lakes, wild life sanctuaries which attracts hundreds of migratory birds from far and wide every winters. Apart from the rare birds, Marsh Harrier, Red Shank, Bar Headed Goose, Grey Lag Goose, Greater Cormorant, Grey Francolin, Egrets, Crow Pheasants, Various Sandpipers, Lapwing, Wagtails, Pipits , Black Tailed Gotwit, Indian Roller,  Black Ibis, Flamingos, Black Kites, Little Ringed Plover,  Norther Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Common Cranes are the other common varieties being spotted here in good numbers.

Besides Pichhola, Fatehsagar and Badi lake in the city area, Madar, Menar, Bhatewar, Mangalwar, Ghasa water bodies attract large number of migratory birds with the onset of winters. These birds habitat here till late February or early March to take a flight back home.

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