Tinsukia, February 16: The Mandarin duck (Aix galericulata), often described as 'the most beautiful duck in the world', was first discovered and logged by Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist Carl Linnaeus in 1758. According to the eBird website, which provides details descriptions of birds from around the world, the duck is native to East Asia. The males are described as “very ornate with big orangey 'sail fins' on the back, streaked organgey cheeks and a small red bill with a whitish tip.” In comparison, the females are more dull, sporting grey heads, brown backs and white eyestripe. The bird spotted in Assam is believed to be a male.
For the last week or so, visitors to Maguri Beel in the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park in upper Assam's Tinsukia district have been witnessing a rare sight with this beautiful migratory duck in the park .
This rare duck was last spotted in the region of Assam 120 years before in 1902. The Mandarin duck, first spotted by Madhab Gogoi, a bird lover and tour guide from Tinsukia district. According to Gogoi who first spotted the duck on February 8 at Maguri beel.
The duck was introduced in the Far East but can still be found in China, Japan, Korea and even parts of Russia. In 2018 it was also spotted in New York.
Experts has no clue exactly how or why the bird spotted in Assam made its way to the National Park. They have noted that India does not make up part of the duck's usual migratory route and have therefore hypothesised that it may have lost its way. This Mandarin Duck is rarely found in the world but still is not listed as an endangered species.
A beautiful Mandarin Duck in Maguri beel, Assam
The Maguri beel has been impacted by the Baghjan gaswell fire of Oil India Limited where lots of aquatic animals died and was not hoping for migratory birds any more.But the sighting of the rare duck is a positive sign that the beel is reviving.