BRAHMINY SHELDUCK OR RUDDY SHELDUCK
We were moving slowly in a country canoe along with the shallow watered canals bordered with reed clusters in Mangaljodi .The boat man was pushing the wooden boat through the canal tearing the map of water lilies and hyacinths with great precision..The long line of narrow strip of water…of course ,it is something less than the canals..
Guide who belongs to Shri Shri Mahavir Pakshi Sanrakshan Samiti of Mangaljodi Mr. Virendra begin to to introduce the wetland of Mangaljodi. I balanced myself at the tip of the canoe so that I may not miss any of the fabulous shots .
Skipping the usual gaze of fiercely aiming pond herons ,meditating median egrets and the whisker terns basked in morning sunshine sipping the foggy sky, we went on.
The proper noun Virendra will be a mispronouncing one for Odiyas..They use ‘ b’ sound instead the consonant sound ‘v’ ‘usually..So they call Bhubaneswar instead of Malayali’s Bhuvaneswar …and Birendra instead of Mallu’s Virendra..
There emerged a large flock of water birds . ” These cute guys are Northern Shoveler… And Northern pintail.
Those chicks are migratory. ” Virendra continued advancing towards the folk ..It’s ok ..They all started to take off from the water but there two ducks kept on swimming closely rubbing each other, dabbling in the muddy shallow waters, engaged in light banter sipping the nectar of slightly slanted morning light..
They were dipping their neck in muddy water..and raising their tails a bit..”They are Brahminy Shelducks or in other words they Ruddy Shelducks.”.”These birds ,he was excited to introduce,,” come from the Himalayan lake of
Manasarovar.. why are you so shy to accept your lover!!?? “”
The guide belongs to the Sri Sri Mahavir Pakshi Suraksha Samiti used to comment upon the birds..
‘’When did you set off your journey from Caspian??.’’.Have you had your breakfast ??!He feels that he is amidst the crowd of winged visitors .He takes them as his friends and family members. It is very surprising that he is very eco friendly, very polite in his manners that he would never locate a bird using his index finger or never utter a scaring note or an alarming note to draw our attention..
According to Tibetan belief the words Brahminy shelduck is a bird with long lifespan and a lucky symbol. These birds are considered as a monk in the society ,the orange saffron colour of the bird suggests the attire of an Indian saint.
.According to them the birds are the symbol of love. Shelduck always move in pairs.The male and female form a lasting pair bonds. If one of them dies in a pair,the other would look for the partner with a melancholy lamenting.
Tibetans believe that it couldn’t find if it couldn’t find his lost partner it would bury its head in a cave and fast itself the to death .Tibetan like its yellow colour .it is a symbol of dignity and luck.
Ruddy shelduck is striking and distinctive goose like duck , breeding in southeastern Europe and Central Asia wintering in in South Asia. Plumage is bright ruddy overall and contrasting pale creamy head and neck. Male has a narrow neck ring, big white featuring patches striking in flights.
. According to the study published in the journal of avian biology they can scale the mighty Himalayas when they migrate to India from the north attaining heights of 6800 mts. This is a first evidence of extreme high altitude flight in a duck .This is the first evidence of extreme high altitude flight in a duck.
The fowl is called Chakva and Chakvi locally .It is 5270 cm long and has a wingspan of 110 to 135 CM. The call of the bird is a honking call. The nest of the bird may be placed much away from water bodies in a crevice or hole in a pointed rock . The ducks search for food in the night and it feeds on tender shoots of green plants and water plants. They don’t spare aquatic insects and worms who live on the land. When they are on the land, they used to graze on foliage.
Whenever a predator advances the female duck lowers the neck outstretched and start to utter honking anger calls. It is something amusing !!!.
Shelduck is derived from the Celtic roots meaning ”pied water fowl ” .The other birds in the category include shelduck shelduck and South African shelduck and Australian shelduck. The ruddy shelducks arrive here by the month of October and departs from Mangaljodi by April.
Virendra continued.. They return to Tibetan lakes and different water bodies in Europe and Africa .
They undergo breeding then.After breeding Brahminy shelducks moult ,consequently losing the power of flight.. They will have reached safe wild lake where they can avoid enemies before they undergo moulting.
When we advance towards them ,they takeoff complaining in honking sound.
Birds get some security and protection in Central and Eastern Asia where there population is steady or rising thanks to to the Buddhist belief. The shelduck population in Europe is generally on a declining trend.
We were able to trace six pairs pairs of shelducks in Mangaljodi on that day itself.