KENDRAPARA: The forest officials and ornithologists have spotted two rare Baikal Teal birds and six Common Shelduck birds at Bhitarakanika National Park in the district.
Avian researcher of the park Bijaya Das said, Baikal Teal (Anas Formosa) is a dabbling duck that breeds in eastern Russia and winters in East Asia. It has a dark crown and long dropping dark scapulars while its grey sides are set off on the front and rear with white bars. They were found on Wednesday at the wetland in Satabhaya village within the park and this is the first record of the presence of Baikul Teal in the State, he added.
Baikal Teal breeds in the forest zone of eastern Siberia while during winter, it migrates to India, Burma, China, Japan, Bahamas and other countries. Few years back, few Baikal Teal birds were sighted in the forest of Assam. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has categorised them as of ‘Least Concern’. Loss of habitat due to agriculture extension and human developments, hunting, collisions with any kind of wires and disturbances by fishermen and poachers are the reasons behind the decline of the species, Das said.
Baikal Teal feeds on seeds, leaves, grass weeds, sedges, aquatic vegetation, seeds coming from crops such as rice and soya. It also consumes small aquatic invertebrates, snails and insects, he informed.
Similarly, Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) is a waterfowl species. It is widespread and common in Eurasia, mainly breeding in temperate and wintering in subtropical regions. They resemble a small short-necked goose in size and shape, he added. Bhitarakanika is home to about 269 species of birds including 98 species of migratory birds.