Wild life

Water-bird Sanctuaries in India

Water-bird SanctuaryThere are sanctuaries for nesting water-birds all over India. These are often of considerable antiquity and usually sited at a sheet of shallow water near a village. The indigenous water-birds of India begin to nest soon after the first heavy rains, and since the onset of the monsoon varies with region, the same species of water-bird breed at somewhat different times in deifferent parts of the country. By and large the native water-birds nest from about mid- July at the earliest to October at the latest. The migrants arrive in the cold weather, from September onwards.

The chiefwater-birds nesting in sanctuaries in India are:

Grey Pelicans, Painted Storks, little Cormorant, large Indian Shag, large Cormorant, Indian Darter or 'snake bird', Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Pond Heron or Paddy bird, off-white Cattle Egret (plumage mace-coloured when breeding) and the Night Heron.

The true egrets, dazzling white, sometimes breed in very small colonies outside sanctuaries, but are to be found in most sanctuaries breeding along with the other birds. These are the Eastern Large Egret with yellowish bill and black legs and feet, exquisitely dissected nuptial plumes at the breast and lower bacck and the Little Egret with black bill and legs, with a yellowish patch over the feet and two strap-like plumes on the back of the head when breeding.

The colourful Painted Stork and the Openbill breed at most mixed heronries. The Painted Stork is not to be found in many sanctuaries in the south, though it also breeds in the south. Both the elegant Whitenecked Stork and the much larger Blacknecked Stork are shy and not gregarious. They may be seen at some sanctuaries and breed atop tall trees in and around sanctuaries. In some places, as in Assam, the Lesser Adjutant also breeds in tall trees.

The White Ibis and the Spoonbill, which develops a thick nuchal crest when breeding, are common in most sanctuaries and are among the earliest breeders.

Ducks breeding in the country include the Spotbill and the Nakta or Comb Duck, and the little Cotton Teal.

The Sarus is India's only indigenous crane, and breeds in and around sanctuaries in northern India.

The Little Grebe (dabchick), rails, crakes, the Indian Moorhen, the Purple Moorhen, the Pheasant-tailed and Bronzewinged Jacanas, the Redwattled Lapwing, and some other waterbirds area also to be found at these sanctuaries.

Among the great and varied numbers of migratory water-birds and waterside birds visiting pools and lakes in India are: the White or Rosy, the Dalmatian Pelicans, the White and Black Storks, Greylag and Barheaded Geese, Ruddy Shelduck (Brahminy Duck), Pintail, Teals, Mallard, Gadwall, Garganey, Shoveller, Pochards and other ducks, Common, Siberian and Demoiselle Cranes, plovers and sandpipers, gulls and terns and other waterside birds.

Water-bird Sanctuaries

Aredu Pelicanry (Grey Pelicans) Andhra Pradesh
Kaziranga Pelicanry (Grey Pelicans) Assam
Manas - Water-birds
Nal Sarovar - Migratory and indigenous birds Gujarat
Sultanpur - Migratory and indigenous birds Haryana
Ranganathittoo - Mixed heronry Karnataka
Periyar - Water-birds, not nesting Kerala
Shivpuri - Water-birds, not nesting Madhya Pradesh
Borivilli, Taroba - Water-birds, not nesting Maharashtra
Chilka Lake - Migratory and indigenous birds Orissa
Keoladeo Ghana - A great mixed heronry Rajasthan
Point Calimere - Flamingos, other migrants and local water-birds Tamil Nadu Vedanthangal - Mixed heronry

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