In a rare occurrence, the bar-headed goose was sighted in the upper slopes of the Nilgiris in southern India. This bird is the highest flying bird in the world and crosses the mighty Himalayas during its winter migration.
The birds were spotted in the Nilgiris by M.Murali, an avid birdwatcher and conservationist. According to him, bar-headed geese fly through the Western Ghats and into Tamil Nadu. However it was very rare to spot them in the upper Nilgiris. They were found in Bandipur in 2007 and 2008 and in certain other parts of Tamil Nadu.
These birds from Central Asia nest in the Tibetan plateau before migrating further south into India for the winter. When they reach India, the young ones are sub-adults and capable of completing the rest of their migratory journey.
Though the species is not an endangered one, dwindling habitats might make it difficult for these birds to survive.
- The bar-headed goose is named for the two conspicuous dark bars running around the back of its white head.
- Two different warning calls are uttered by the bar-headed goose, one to signal a bird of prey and one for land predators.
- They can fly to very high altitudes – highest recorded using GPS device was 24000 feet. The species is physiologically and biochemically adapted to flying at altitudes where oxygen levels and temperatures are both extremely low.