SPECIES SIGHTING: Every once in a while a bird or two is spotted in a place where it wasn’t expected to be found. Nevertheless, such rare sightings are always welcomed by the entire animal loving community, including wildlife conservationists and avid bird lovers. One such bird was recently spotted in the Little Rann of Kutch by a group of ornithologists and nature lovers who were pleasantly surprised to discover a lesser white-fronted goose in Gujarat during a recent trip to the area.
The bird was sighted by the group, which was in the Little Rann of Kutch on a nature camp conducted by Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS). Led by the BNHS Program Coordinator, Asif Khan, the group managed to capture the bird on camera and have reportedly forwarded a note along with the photographs that they took to the BNHS’s journal.
Although experts say that there could be sporadic sightings of this rare migratory bird across the country during the winter months, the bird has never been sighted in Gujarat before.
The Director of BNHS, Asad Rahmani, said that the white-fronted goose is a ‘nearly-threatened’ species and is extremely rare in the country.
He further said, “I have seen the picture and have gone through the note sent by the group. We will definitely publish it in the next edition of the BNHS Journal.”
Speaking about the recent spotting, Anish Andheria, President of Wildlife Conservation Trust, informs that there have been rare sightings of the bird in other places but always in very small numbers. He also added that the white-fronted geese are migratory birds and they usually travel in groups. However, their small numbers are often scattered in bigger groups of grey-legged geese.
More About the Lesser White-Fronted Goose
Common Name – Lesser White Fronted Goose
Scientific Name – Anser erythropus
IUCN Status – Vulnerable
The bird is closely related to the larger white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons). However, unlike the greater white-fronted goose, these birds are globally threatened. Although these birds regularly visit at least 22 states in the European Union, the global population of this bird has declined rapidly over the years, particularly due to over hunting and disturbance of breeding grounds due to tourism. This long-distance, pale arctic migrant is currently breeding in the sub-arctic zone ranging from northern Fennoscandia to eastern Siberia. The wintering areas and migratory routes of these birds are only partially known.
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Image courtesy birdforum.net