|Falcated Duck Anas falcata
|Photographer :|| © Viral Patel and Pankaj Maheria |
|Location :||Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, near Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India |
20 November 2018|
|English synonyms:||Falcated Teal, Bronze-capped Teal|
|Bird Family :||Anatini - Typical Ducks |
|Bird Group :||ANSERIFORMES |
|Red Data Status :||Near Threatened|
|Remarks :||Comparison with Gadwall male. On left side Falcated Duck and right side Gadwall male.
On the early morning of 20 November 2018, we went to a family birding trip at Vadla Wetland. It is part of Nalsarovar bird sanctuary which is a widespread lowland wetland. There are so many water birds inside the wetland. We have to observe them with binocular because they are scattered very far away. While scanning groups of dabbling ducks Dr. Pankaj spotted unusual green headed duck. It was foraging in shallow water surrounded by several Common Coot, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal and Gadwall. At first we thought about Mallard. But on further observation it is clear as a male of Falcated Duck.
Than we observed its key features, large head is metallic bronze green and chestnut-purple with bushy mane – like nuchal crest which is diagnostic for male in breeding plumage of this species. Black-and-grey inner secondaries elongated and falcated (sickle-shaped), which give this species its name, hanging off its back. Throat and foreneck white with a narrow dark green collar at base. Bill black, body grey, penciled wavily with black. Speculum glistening black and green.1
Simply it is strikingly beautiful duck. It was busy mainly in foraging and preening – feeds hurriedly while swimming. It kept swimming in the far corner of wetland covered with tall grass only visible from front side. It never left the group of other ducks, even though at the same time being hostile to them. We observed that Falcated Duck often drove away fellow ducks a little. It do not tolerate other duck feeding beside itself.
We stayed there a while in hope of a decent image of Falcated Duck, in case it will come any nearer. But it never left that particular patch of marsh, keeps close to emergent vegetation all the time.
Meanwhile our daughter Geet spotted a water bird in nearby marshes, which is turned to be a Water-Rail. There are two of them, we heard them calling each-other several times. It is very shy bird - intriguingly appear and disappear into reeds while expertly catching small silver fishes from water.
On studying the literature we found out that it is a rare and uncommon winter visitor to Gujarat.
There are two known previous record of Falcated Duck from Gujarat. First was by H. H. Maharao Vijayrajji of Kutch shot a bird in February, 1932, in Kutch.2, second was by Natarajan, V., & Akhtar, A. in 1988 in Khijadia Bird Sanctuary, Jamnagar.3
We visited this site several times to check presence of Falcated Duck, only we didn’t succeed to find it again. So it might be a vagrant bird, left the place already.
1. Ali, S. 2012. The Birds of Indian Birds. Oxford University Press. Published for Bombay Natural History Society 2012.
2. Natarajan, V., & Akhtar, A., 1988. Occurrence of the Falcated Teal Anas falcata (Georgi) in Khijadia Bird Sanctuary, Gujarat. JBNHS 84 (3): 678 (1987).
3. Vijayrajji., 1932. Occurrence of the Bronzecapped or Falcated Teal Eunetta falcata in Kutch. JBNHS 35 (4): 899.|