Rare Long-tailed Duck sighted in Wular Lake after eight decades

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Long-tailed Duck
Long-tailed Duck | Photo: allaboutbirds.org

SRINAGAR — The Long-tailed Duck, scientifically known as Clangula hyemalis, was sighted in Wular Lake in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district after 84 years.

This species, found in both European and American continents, is catalogued as highly endangered on the IUCN Red list.

The coordinator of Wular Conservation and Management Authority (WUCMA), while speaking to the news agency KNS, said that five ducks were seen foraging in the Lake on January 22 following.

He said that the details of the species were entered in their field record, then sent to experts in Ornithology for identification following which it was determined that the birds were indeed the rare migratory Long-tailed Duck.

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He said that the most recent identification of this avian was reported from Hokersar Lake in 1939 as mentioned by F. Ludlow in a periodical entitled “Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society”. He said this sighting of the bird has been noticed after 84 years and there are only a few places in India that meet the “1% standards” required for the reproduction and propagation of its duck species.

He said the refurbishment of Wular Lake has sparked optimism among birdwatchers as it has fortunately seen an impressive influx of migratory birds this year. “These sightings have included the rare Common Pochard, Red-crested Pochard, Long-tailed Duck and other usual waterfowl commonly seen at other wetland habitats,” he added.

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Notably, Wular Lake is one of the most extensive freshwater bodies in Asia but it suffers from silt and willow contamination, while efforts are on to restore its pristine glory.

As per the official data, an area of 4.5 square kilometers has already been remediated, with the operation being done in multiple stages.

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