Western Ghats and the Spot Billed Duck

Oct 11, 2014

A few of our earlier articles has highlighted the importance of the Western Ghats as a United Nations heritage site and its importance as one among the eight hot spots of biodiversity in the world. In addition to the spectacular wildlife, the great chain of mountains, running through six states; Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala is the source of all major rivers of India’s Southern Peninsula.

The Western Ghats are primarily responsible for the onset of the South West monsoon. In fact, the world has recognized that the site presents one of the best examples of the monsoon system on the planet. 

Besides, it is one of the world’s treasure troves of plant and animal life, with a great wealth of unique plant and animal species, and is home to at least 325 globally threatened bird, amphibian, reptile and fish species. Every other day scientists are reporting new species of wild life. Unfortunately many new species are lost even before they are discovered because of the large scale destruction through mining and other activities.

The health of this precious eco region has been on continual decline over the last couple of years with many ecosystem types almost totally eliminated. Just a couple of years ago, serious measures were initiated to conserve some of the fast vanishing biological diversity by earmarking ecologically sensitive areas (ESA). 

ESAs are to be viewed as areas where human activities will continue, but be prudently regulated under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. ESAs are not at all meant to stop development in ways that would hurt local people, but to ensure that development is environment friendly and people oriented, as well as serve to preserve the ecological heritage on a long term basis. There are no set regulations, such as ban on all new industries, or on conversion of agricultural into  commercial land, that would prevail in every Ecologically Sensitive Area; instead, the regulations will be worked out with due respect to local context free from human interference.

The Western Ghats is making headlines every other day for two main reasons. This article briefly addresses those concerns.

This brief article highlights two very important aspects. First, to do away with a dozen agencies and allow one single nodal agency to decide on dividing the entire Western Ghats in several ecologically sensitive zones with each zone having different level of prohibition on developmental activities and also recommend large scale measures to control environmental degradation.

Second, the Ministry of Environment and Forest’s (MoEF) indecisive attitude in deciding  ecologically sensitive areas inside the Western Ghats for over three years. The Ministry has yet to decide on the exclusion or inclusion of the ecologically sensitive areas, which is having a significant effect in maintaining the environmental integrity of the entire chain of mountains.

Herein are a few pictures of the Spot Billed duck commonly observed inside the Western Ghats. It is very easy to identify these birds because of their distinct colorations. The bill is black with an orange spot on the top of the bill and yellow spots on the base of the bill. We have provided close up pictures of the bird where the spot at the end of the bill is clearly visible. This will help for easy identification of the spot bill.

These ducks have adapted well to the presence of humans and can be found in flocks of two to three dozen not only in big lakes but also in small open ponds and at the edge of wetlands. They are gregarious and often fight with one another for territory. When alarmed they make a very loud quacking sound and immediately take off with their powerful wings. Our observations point out that these ducks are residents year round and occasionally migrate to rivers or lakes during periods of extended drought. 

Dr Anand & Geeta Pereira - Archives

By Dr Anand & Geeta Pereira
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Comment on this article

  • francis (Joe) Martis, Barkur/USA

    Mon, Oct 20 2014

    Dear Dr Anand & Geetha

    What an Excellent job ! The dedication,Love for the Birds, time spent, Beautiful photography, you are indeed one of a kind, any praise is small enough! Keep up the good work, May God Bless you both, you are one lovely couple.
    Best Wishes.

  • Archie Menezes, Milagres /Mangalore

    Sat, Oct 18 2014

    Excellent photography and lovely article. Keep it up Dr. Anand and Geetha Pereira

  • rakesh, sakleshpur

    Thu, Oct 16 2014


  • Ralph Pinto, Bangalore

    Thu, Oct 16 2014

    Dear Anand & Geeta

    Will the new dam built across the river on Shiradi Ghat come in the way of migration of these wild animals ?

  • Brian Fernandes, Mangalore

    Thu, Oct 16 2014

    Incredible photography. Cute ducks, and a very informative and well written article. I enjoy reading your eco related articles - I learn so much every time.

  • Leona Pais, Brisbane

    Thu, Oct 16 2014

    Dear Dr Anand & Geeta.

    Very well written article with beautiful pictures that has a lot of depth in photography, well done & proud of you both.
    Leona Pais

  • Dr.Anand & Geeta N Pereira, Sakleshpur/kadri

    Wed, Oct 15 2014

    Hello Ralph & Joseph,
    The Shiradi/Sakleshpur forest is actually a migratory corridor for many animals’ criss crossing from Coorg/Chikmagalur Districts. We have come across the spotted, Mouse and Barking deer. Elephants, Sambar, Leopard, Toddy and civet Cat are pretty common.The Giant Malabar flying squirrel, slender Loris, all types of monkeys except the lion tailed Macaque inhabit the forest. Rare instances of the Indian Gaur. Wild boars are common. In truth this area of the Western ghats is especially rich in its amphibian diversity.
    Joseph, these Spot billed ducks are resident birds and can be seen throughout the year in many pockets of the Western Ghats.

  • Leander Pais, Brisbane

    Wed, Oct 15 2014

    Dear Uncle Anand & Aunty Geeta.

    Very informative article & professional photography that is unique.

    Leander Pais

  • Liza Gina Pais, Brisbane

    Wed, Oct 15 2014

    Dear Dr Anand & Geeta Aunty.

    Lovely & beautiful pictures, I am speechless.

    Liza Gina Pais

  • Lance & Hazel D' Costa, Mangalore / Abu Dhabi

    Wed, Oct 15 2014

    Superb photographs of the Spot Billed Duck, they are amazing! A wonderful write up, quite informative. Looking forward to more of these kind from Dr. Anand & Geeta Pereira!

  • Ashok Frank, Mangalore / Toronto

    Tue, Oct 14 2014

    Dear Anand and Geeta,
    Very nice article and beautiful pictures. The photography is excellent. Great info. Thank you for your time and efforts in sharing it on daijiworld.

  • Geraldine , Mangalore

    Tue, Oct 14 2014

    Thanks once again Anand and Geeta for capturing beauty which otherwise we would not notice.. Hats off to you...


    Tue, Oct 14 2014

    The Secret of our Beautiful Nature. congrats too you on this Nice article and Beautifull photography.


    Tue, Oct 14 2014

    The Secret of our Beautiful Nature. congrats too you on this Nice article and Beautiful photography.

  • Ralph Pinto, Bangalore

    Tue, Oct 14 2014

    Dear Anand and Geetha

    what are the different animals species found in the Shiradi / Saklespur range of forests ?

  • Darryl & Diana Lasrado, Mangalore

    Tue, Oct 14 2014

    Dear Anand & Geeta,
    Each picture speaks more than a thousand words. Thanks both of you for taking the trouble & sharing your knowledge with us.

  • Prem Colaco, Sakleshpur/Muscat

    Tue, Oct 14 2014

    Dear Anand & Geetha Pereira,
    Excellent write up and overall photography with an amazing detailing on this wonderful wildlife spot billed Duck.
    Keep up your good work !

  • Vasant Raj, Mangalore / Abudhabi

    Tue, Oct 14 2014

    Wonderful photographs....

  • Santosh Sequeira, Bellore / Navi Mumbai

    Tue, Oct 14 2014

    Wonderful article and Photography. Dr. Anand and Geeta, Hats off to you on this Persistence work for bringing out true color of Nature.

  • Dr.Anand & Geeta N Pereira, Sakleshpur/kadri

    Tue, Oct 14 2014

    To all our Friends of Planet Earth,
    We believe that it is no easy task for pen to make contact with paper. Yet you have taken time out to encourage and spell out those wonderful comments. Thank you for taking time to write and encourage. We appreciate your time.

  • Ronnie Gomes, Kadri, Mangalore

    Tue, Oct 14 2014

    Wow...amazing timely clicks.Nothing less than National Geography photos.Kudos to you both Anand & Geetha for treating us with wonderful natural beauties of Western Ghats and enlightening article as well.

  • George Pais, Urwa

    Tue, Oct 14 2014

    Hi Annand - Geetha ,
    Amazing pictures and a great article with lots of information.

  • Joseph Rego, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

    Mon, Oct 13 2014

    Hi Anand & Geeta

    Were these spot billed ducks found earlier in the western ghat area or is it something new ? Congrats on your article. Lovely pics too.

  • Gregory Peres, Mangalore

    Mon, Oct 13 2014

    Very good article and photography. Anand and Geeta keep it up.

  • John Monteiro, MANGALORE

    Mon, Oct 13 2014

    Dear Anand and Geeta: Superb as usual.

  • John DSouza, Belman/Bejai/Qatar

    Mon, Oct 13 2014

    Dear Dr. Anand and Geeta,
    It is our pleasure to see the beautiful birds through your powerful lenses and know the nature through your practical experience, which the Almighty God has created for the comfort of humans.

    Unfortunately, today, we also get to see the miserable and cruel scenes, where humans, the God’s greatest creatures are being killed and destroyed, inhumanly like materials and tools.

    Whereas give respect and take respect and preserve nature and enjoy pleasant life is the necessity, the society has become the field of aggressive hunters and poor victims and climate change, the enemy of inhabitants of earth planet, due to the selfishness and greed of humans.

    Unless we control damage and protect the nature, certainly the pained nature will destroy us.

  • Pramod, Mangalore

    Mon, Oct 13 2014

    extremely informative and wonderfully presented. well done and my very best in all your future endeavors.

  • jack, namma kudla

    Mon, Oct 13 2014

    awesome photography...

  • sunil , Chikmagalur

    Sun, Oct 12 2014

    Very informative article

  • Dr Jonathan Bujak, U.K.

    Sun, Oct 12 2014

    Dear Anand and Geeta,

    Thank you very much for sending Lexy and me the link to your very important article. I totally agree with your concerns and your recommendation:

    “…. to do away with a dozen agencies and allow one single nodal agency to decide on dividing the entire Western Ghats in several ecologically sensitive zones with each zone having different level of prohibition on developmental activities and also recommend large scale measures to control environmental degradation.”

  • Allen Pais, Brisbane

    Sun, Oct 12 2014

    Dear Dr Anand & Geeta.

    Excellent picture capture,specially the dual pairs,wonderful work & keep up the good work,very proud of you both.Allen Pais


    Sun, Oct 12 2014

    Thanks a lot.. Enjoyed it

  • Mohan Frank, Mangalore / Mumbai

    Sun, Oct 12 2014

    DR ATP & Geeta
    Great photography & a wonderful informative article which has highlighted the ongoing problem you are facing regarding the ecological bifercation of the areas Hope the concerned people do the needful at the earliest before it is too late & prevent the calamity

  • Jesmin J. Patrao, SomvarPette

    Sun, Oct 12 2014

    Best Clicks. Require date and name on each of the photo to preserve its identity for you !!

    Yeh !Yeh!! correct !!!.. as assured by you how come you failed again to upload your new photo..No matter, perhaps next time sir.

  • Mohan H Naik, Mangaluru

    Sun, Oct 12 2014

    Superb Clicks.

  • Joe Britto, Nakre/Bangalore

    Sun, Oct 12 2014

    Yet again another set of amazing pictures by Dr. Anand & Dr. Geetha. Yes ,the importance of the Western Ghats to the South west Monsoons cannot be undermined. It's really sad that the MOEFF is still unsure which direction to go and it's this attitude that is difficult to digest for all true lovers of nature. Infact Crops like Paddy and Coffee actually help protect the forests and the delicate eco system. These farmers should be paid for protecting the Eco System ( PES) This is being followed in Costa Rica.
    Payments for ecosystem services (PES), also known as payments for environmental services (or benefits), are incentives offered to farmers or landowners in exchange for managing their land to provide some sort of ecological service. They have been defined as "a transparent system for the additional provision of environmental services through conditional payments to voluntary providers." It's time that in India a setup like the MOEFF takes note of these guardians of nature and reward them adequately. Ofcourse this is all wishful thinking as such generosity by our Government bodies is really unthinkable , but yet perhaps somewhere someone will ensure this happens in our lifetime. Thanks again Dr. Anand & Dr. Geetha Pereira for the pictures and bringing to us alive these amazing creatures of nature .

  • Michael S Baptist , Chikmagalur

    Sat, Oct 11 2014

    The article Written by Dr. Anand and Geetha Pereira about western Ghats and its importance by attracting such a beautiful spot billed ducks in its region is very interesting and also the pictures are so beautiful and really how much time and energy they must have spent to capture these pictures . I whole heartedly thank them for writing this informative article.

  • R.Bhandarkar, M'lore

    Sat, Oct 11 2014

    Dear Dr and Geetha Madam...
    A refreshing read again and telling us so much of the Kingdom Of Birds.
    Till know, I knew only a few 'Bill Ducks',named so,'cause they used to duck when the bills were produced. No relations of 'Bill Gates' though.
    Also some beautiful photographs,timed to perfection.
    And talking of photos, I think you forgot your promise made to a fan of yours the last time round. Guess what?
    Best Regards.

  • Loretta Andrade, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Sat, Oct 11 2014

    Dear Anand & Geeta,

    Thank you so much for the very enlightening article & the incredible photography of the magnificent Birds. It is always a great pleasure to go through your articles and I just can’t stop admiring the pictures which are truly astounding & so well captured!

    One of my all time favorites is the “Rare Leopard Cat”. This brings back memories of my beloved Leopard Cat “Leo” from Pilikula whom I lost forever on 23rd Dec. 2012.

    Thanks so much again!

    Warm regards,
    Loretta Andrade

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