First encounter with Ruddy Shelduck on reaching Pong Dam Lake near Nagrota Suriyan in Kangra region of Himachal Pradesh, India
Ruddy Shelduck was first colorful bird which I saw during recent trip to Pong Dam Lake in Kangra Region of Himalayan State of India. These birds were quite attractive and standing out in all other species having more shades of white or black. These birds were one of the most colorful Migratory species at pong during winters, Let's have a quick Photo Journey with Ruddy Shelducks with some information about them...
Flying Ruddy Shelducks look amazing as their body shines in sunlight. Their flight seemed almost similar to Bar Headed Goose, although I can be wrong as I have just started observing birds. The main difference I saw is that Ruddy Shelduck can easily be found as couples while Bar headed goose were mainly in large flocks. This can again be an observation from two days of visit to pong where we may have seen very specific nature of these birds, which may not be generally true always. Above two photographs are shot on shoreline of Pong Dam Lake near Meenu Khad which is just next to Nagrota Suriyan !!
A flying Ruddy Shelduck near Maharana Pratap Sagar aka Pong Dam Lake in Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh, India. This recent trip was very inspirational as I got an opportunity to meet very passionate Birders from different cities of India and some Wildlife Professionals from Himachal Pradesh. I was accompanying folks from Chandigarh Birding Club and few Wildlife Professionals from Kullu & Chamba. During these two days I could also remember few bird names with their images in my mind :)
During one of the conversations, someone also told me that Ruddy Shelduck is also known as Brahmani Duck. From name it seems like an Indian version of the name and not sure how popular this name is. But most of the localities knew this bird as Brahmani Duck and one of the reason might be that English names are too difficult for them to be remembered. Such names can easily be forgotten if you are not interested in birds. On the beginning of first day at Pong Dam, I was amazed to see Birders talking about various species and discussing their behaviors, colors etc. At times, information was too specific; like color of primary wings of XYZ bird should be dark black while it was greyish shade c:)
Here is one interesting article on WWF website hwere there is a mention about new sighting of Ruddy Shelduck in Arunachal Pradesh. For more details check out - http://www.wwfindia.org/about_wwf/critical_regions/?6140/A-unique-encounter-with-the-ruddy-shelduck
More Information about Ruddy Shelduck can also be checked at - http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=397
The Ruddy Shelduck, Tadorna ferruginea, is a member of the duck, goose and swan family Anatidae. It is in the shelduck subfamily Tadorninae.
The Ruddy Shelduck is usually found in pairs or small groups and rarely forms large flocks. However, moulting and wintering gatherings on chosen lakes or slow rivers can be very large.
Ruddy Shelduck is a bird of open country and it will breed on cliffs, in burrows, tree holes or crevices distant from water, laying 6-16 creamy-white eggs, incubated for 30 days.
There are very small resident populations of this species in north west Africa and Ethiopia, but the main breeding area of this species is from south east Europe across central Asia to Southeast Asia. These birds are mostly migratory, wintering in the Indian Subcontinent.
Although Ruddy Shelduck becoming quite rare in southeast Europe and southern Spain... but Ruddy Shelduck is still common across much of its Asian ranges... It may be this population which gives rise to vagrants as far west as Iceland, Great Britain and Ireland. However, since the European population is declining, it is likely that most occurrences in western Europe in recent decades are escapes or feral birds. Although this bird is observed in the wild from time to time in eastern North America, no evidence of a genuine vagrant has been found.
It has orange-brown body plumage and a paler head. The wings are white with black flight feathers. It swims well, and in flight looks heavy, more like a goose than a duck. The sexes of this striking species are similar, but the male has a black ring at the bottom of the neck in the breeding season summer, and the female often has a white face patch. The call is a loud wild honking.
(Details Courtesy - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruddy_Shelduck )