• It is a delight to watch them wade, feed and rest on mud flats.
  • These wild ducks may not be found in large numbers, but are known to frequent certain wet niches during specific seasons.
  • They play a significant role in aquatic ecosystems and wetland conservation; these water birds either serve as biocontrol agents foraging on insect pests or bio-indicators of water quality or as dispersal agents of water plants.

Spot-billed ducks

  • Found in small colonies in Pallikarnai marsh, Korattur lake, Adyar creek and Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, these have a characteristic red spot at the base of their bill.
  • This dabbling duck, sporting a dull eye-stripe, a prominent green speculum at the sides, a yellow-tipped black bill and bjustify orange feet is a beauty to behold!
  • Herbivores, they feed on grasses, sedges, seeds and occasionally aquatic insects. Interestingly, these ducks line up one behind the other in an orderly manner while jumping out of a mudflat to swim.

Pin-tailed ducks

  • They are winter visitors that fly out of North America, Europe and Asia to escape the harsh weather in their native territory.
  • Large flocks migrating with an average speed of 70 kilometres per hour fly non-stop for hours across continents to reach their winter quarters.
  • Pin-tails regularly visit Karikili and Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuaries.
  • The adult males are stunning, with a thin white stripe running from the back of their chocolate-coloured heads down the neck.
  • These birds have a distinct pointed tail and mostly forage in marshlands and brackish lagoons.


  • Garganeys too are winter visitors seen in Vedanthangal, with the males flaunting a white stripe behind the eye.
  • Feeding along freshwater and coastal lagoons, they survive on weeds, worms, molluscs, leeches and also relish a frog or a fish meal.

Fulvous whistling ducks

  • Native to South America, West Indies and Northeastern India, these tawny birds are found feeding and breeding in Pallikarnai marsh and Korattur lake.
  • They have dark striations on their neck and distinct streaks on flanks.
  • They migrate in small flocks and are seen in marshes, flooded paddy fields, shallow lakes and ponds amidst emergent vegetation. T
  • he repeated whistling calls of these ducks is music to the ears.


  • A regular visitor to Pallikarnai marsh and Sholinganallur lake, shovelers migrate from North America, Europe and northern Asia.
  • The characteristic bill with filterable projections at is an adaptation to feed on crustaceans and planktons.