The Indefatigable Bar Headed Geese (Anser indicus)   2 comments

Bar Headed Goose Wing Flap_8Bits_sRGB

Photographing the storied Bar headed geese (Anser indicus) was high up on my birding list. They have been known to migrate to the south of India but are usually not sighted close to Bangalore and hence an encounter with them had eluded me  in the past. However, it all changed last week thanks to some accurate intelligence gathered by my friend Bikash. We set out early morning last Sunday and were rewarded with the majestic sight of nearly five hundred plus members of this species.

These birds do an annual migration to South Asia from their summer habitats in Mongolia and Central Asia. The bar-headed geese are one of the world’s highest-flying birds and have been reported to have been sighted even over Mount Everest. Its not very clear as to why these birds fly to the extreme altitudes especially when there are passes through the Himalayas at lower altitudes, and which are used by other migrating bird species. They apparently undertake the flight across the Himalaya (from sea-level) non-stop in as little as seven hours. They are recognized for undertaking the highest rates of climbing in flight for a bird, and sustain these climb rates for hours on end. The haemoglobin of their blood has a higher affinity for oxygen compared to low-altitude geese, something that enables them to absorb oxygen more efficiently in high altitudes.

In this group we saw a few tagged geese as well – they had apparently been tagged in distant Mongolia. A reaffirmation of the fact that these birds travel great distances. These birds will start their journey back soon and here’s wishing them a safe journey back.

2 responses to “The Indefatigable Bar Headed Geese (Anser indicus)

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  1. Excellent capture Amit. I’m sure it was a great sight watching these migrants.

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