Red-breasted merganser duck sighted in NCR for first time

Red-breasted merganser ducks are among the fastest ducks in flight, clocking speeds above 150 kilometres per hour. “It’s hard to say where exactly this bird’s migratory path has originated as their breeding range is very large,” said Sonu Dalal, who first spotted the duck on Sunday.
This marks the first-ever appearance of the avian species in Haryana and Delhi-NCR. A previous sighting of the bird in India, in December 2016, at a Mumbai wetland, had sent ripples among country’s birding community .(Rakesh Ahlawat)
This marks the first-ever appearance of the avian species in Haryana and Delhi-NCR. A previous sighting of the bird in India, in December 2016, at a Mumbai wetland, had sent ripples among country’s birding community .(Rakesh Ahlawat)
Updated on Dec 08, 2020 06:13 AM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times, Gurugram | ByPrayag Arora-Desai

Birders in Haryana made a rare sighting, of a female red-breasted merganser duck, at a wetland in Mandothi village of Jhajjar district, located about 40 kilometres from Gurugram, on Sunday and Monday. The red-breasted merganser is a resident of Europe and North America that migrates to parts of the UK, China and Pakistan during winter.

This marks the first-ever appearance of the avian species in Haryana and Delhi-NCR. A previous sighting of the bird in India, in December 2016, at a Mumbai wetland, had sent ripples among country’s birding community .

It was first spotted in Mandothi on the afternoon of December 6 by birder Sonu Dalal, a resident of the area, who initially mistook it for a common merganser duck, which is a resident of India’s hilly tracts and sometimes ventures to the Indo-Gangetic plain during winter.

However, Dighal-based birder Rakesh Ahlawat on Monday visited the site and confirmed that the bird was, in fact, a red-breasted merganser. “The bird is a vagrant which may have found its way to India while migrating. This species usually resides around freshwater lakes in Europe and North America and then winters in parts of the UK, China, and some coasts in south Pakistan. They travel in huge flocks, but this one was found on its own,” said Ahlawat.

The red-breasted merganser spotted in Jhajjar is a female specimen and was seen wading amid a group of waterfowl, including common teals and shovellers. Birders were able to identify her from her thin bill and slighter build, as compared to the more hefty common merganser.

Red-breasted merganser ducks are among the fastest ducks in flight, clocking speeds above 150 kilometres per hour. “It’s hard to say where exactly this bird’s migratory path has originated as their breeding range is very large,” said Sonu Dalal, who first spotted the duck on Sunday.

The first photographic record of the red-breasted merganser in India dates back to December 21, 2016, when it was spotted at a wetland in Maharashtra’s Vasai taluka, in Rajavalli village. At the time, birders from across the Mumbai region flocked to Vasai to catch a glimpse of the bird. Coincidentally, the species was also spotted around the same time at the Gajoldoba wetland near Siliguri in West Bengal.

“I remember the Mumbai sighting created quite a flutter. Even I had gone to Vasai to try and see the bird in January 2017, but wasn’t lucky enough,” said Pankaj Gupta of the Delhi Bird Foundation.

“I suspect people will want to have a look at this specimen since it is the first sighting in Haryana and NCR. Common merganser ducks are sometimes seen in parts of Uttar Pradesh and Kashmir, but this one is not a resident of India. It is clearly a vagrant that has deviated from its migratory path,” Gupta said.

Two earlier recordings of the red-breasted merganser also exist from West Bengal, in 1889 and 1961. However, these claims are not supported by photographic evidence.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Several trees, poles have been uprooted in the aftermath of heavy rainfall causing severe waterlogging in various parts of the city.

    Bengaluru rains latest: IMD sounds ‘orange alert’ as floods disrupt life

    As per the weather forecast, rainfall is likely to continue for the coming few days. Heavy rainfall has been predicted for the coming 4-5 days in Bengaluru. Localities around the HAL airport area received 86.4 mm rainfall. Rainfall in other states The weather department has predicted light rainfall over parts of Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha for the next four days. These rains will be accompanied by gusty winds and thunderstorms.

  • All elected representatives of gram panchayats and other functionaries would be trained to handle the websites. (Shutterstock Image)

    All Bihar gram panchayats to have their own websites now

    All gram panchayats in Bihar will soon have their own websites as part of the state government's mission to bring in accountability and transparency in the system of rural governance. These websites will contain demographic details, places of historical importance, important institutions as well as details of elected representatives of the area. Panchayati raj minister Samrat Chaudhary said the state government had also allocated 3261 crore as its grant for gram panchayats.

  • Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. (ANI Photo)

    Delhi govt seeks report from MCDs on demolition drives since April 1

    Maintaining its stand of opposing the demolition drives carried out by the three Bharatiya Janata Party-led municipal corporations of Delhi (MCDs), the Delhi government has now sought reports from the three civic bodies on all “bulldozer actions” carried out since April 1 this year. Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal also asked his party MLAs to even prepare to go to prison to protect people from the demolition drives.

  • Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai (under the umbrella) visits Bengaluru’s flood hit areas. (HT Photo)

    Torrential rainfall triggers massive floods in Bengaluru; IMD says more to come

    BENGALURU: At least two people were killed, while several others were left scrambling for shelter as heavy rainfall battered large parts of Bengaluru. Three workers were stuck in a flooded pipeline in Ullal Upanagara, and only one person managed to escape. The India Meteorological Department on Tuesday issued an Orange alert for urban and rural districts of Bengaluru, predicting heavy rainfall for the next 4-5 days.

  • Studded with faded brasses, this is a traditional wood door you might chance upon in Old Delhi, or in any other historic neighbourhood such as Mehrauli.

    Delhiwale: Knock knock! Who’s there?

    The door is stained with tiny shreds of old peeling paint. The latch is entwined into a small lock so rusty that it has turned red. Green plants are growing uncut on the front. Studded with faded brasses, this is a traditional wood door you might chance upon in Old Delhi, or in any other historic neighbourhood such as Mehrauli. The lane otherwise consists of low altitude multi-storey housings. The fascinating door stands out.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, May 18, 2022