On our recent trip to Coorg, we stopped at a place known as Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary on the way back. Which was amazing. We saw so many new birds that even now I’ve not gotten over it.
This bird in particular was the first one I’ve seen in its genus. It’s the Indian River Tern, otherwise known as 40 centimetres of pure awesome.
It’s found only in freshwater – i.e., rivers – unlike most terns of its genus. So it’s an outlier. It breeds in sandbanks in rivers. Being pretty lazy, it scrapes a small hollow in the ground and lays its eggs, rather than going for the full nest-hog most birds trouble with. Outlier and efficient.
Plus, it also looks like something out of a Mickey Mouse cartoon. What’s not to love?
But there’s a but. Here, it’s the fact pollution is driving it out of its habitat and that it’s currently listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. The population in India forms the majority of its worldwide range, which is estimated at 50,000-100,000 individuals.
This bird is just one of those 50 to a 100 thousand individuals. But hopefully it will charm the hearts of birdwatchers for many years to come.