Rare sightings of Ferruginous duck, 36 other bird species at Lamphelpat wetlands in Imphal surprise experts

Near Threatened Ferruginous duck (Ferruginous Pochard) was spotted at Lamphelpat wetlands in Imphal West during a random survey by ornithologist S Subramanya on the morning of February 18.

ByBabie Shirin

Updated 24 Feb 2022, 4:16 am

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The recent rare sighting of near-threatened Ferruginous duck and other 36 migratory bird species in and around the wetlands of Lamphelpat in Imphal West district has drawn the attention of experts. It also raises urgent need of rejuvenating the ecological system of wetlands in Manipur.  

Ferruginous duck (Ferruginous Pochard) was spotted in Lamphelpat wetlands in Imphal West during a random survey by ornithologist S Subramanya on the morning of February 18. The showing up of the ducks was no ordinary incident; this species is said to have migrated from Central Asia crossing South Asia, reaching the North-eastern part of Himalaya during winter season.

According to Subramanya, 13 of the 36 bird species sighted at Lamphelpat are near threatened. These birds stay in shallow and swampy masses of water, mostly in wetlands, he said.

The 13 Near Threatened migratory birds are Garganey; Northern Shoveler; Northern Pintail; Green-winged Teal; Ferruginous Duck; Glossy Ibis; Brown Shrike; Paddyfield Warbler; Bluethroat; Siberian Stonechat; Citrine Wagtail; White Wagtail; Western/Eastern Yellow Wagtail.


Among all 13 birds, the number of ferruginous ducks are decreasing worldwide, he said.

The other species of birds he sighted on February 18 morning are Lesser Whistling Duck; Little Grebe; Eurasian Moorhen; Eurasian Coot; Grey-headed Swamphen; White-breasted Waterhen; Pheasant-tailed Jacana; Grey Heron; Great Egret; Little Egret; Cattle Egret; Black-headed Ibis; Indian Pond-Heron; White-throated Kingfisher; Striated Grassbird; Barn Swallow; Red-vented Bulbul; Asian Pied Starling; Common Myna; Oriented Magpie-Robin; Eurasian Tree Sparrow; Paddy-field Pipit.

Subramanya said that in winter these birds migrate from different countries but mostly from Central Asia. He said he did not venture near the birds found in Lamphelpat, thinking they may fear and stray from their route. He also mentioned that among all ducks, five species are very special, while 10 are migrants from Central Asia.

In the effort to save natural habitats of migratory bords, he emphasised that the nature of Lamphelpat wetlands should not be changed or transformed in the name of development. he suggested rejuvenation of Lamphelpat as it appears to be a unique habitat for migratory ducks.

“It requires rejuvenating the nature and ecological system of Lamphelpat or else the endangered or near threatened migratory birds or ducks will vanish from their habitat,” Subramanya said.


“I have seen encroachments in the wetland area and such transformation of wetland into land may lead to the extinction of the wetland," he said, adding that Lamphelpat has a unique habitat, it can form hotspots of birds and ducks.

The historical significance of Lamphelpat is vanishing, there is an uncertain future, he said. The original glory of Lamphelpat is lost due to siltation, human encroachment and dumping of waste materials, he lamented.

Joint director of the Directorate of Environment and Climate Change, T Brajakumar said that Lamphelpat is among 169 wetlands identified by the Wetland Authority of Manipur. It is treated under urban wetland list. However, for rejuvenation, a study listed 23 wetlands but Lamphelpat was left out.

The presence of large number of birds and ducks in and around Lamphelpat along the Langol range shows that the wetland is healthy. Therefore, the influence zone and encroachment at Lamphelpat should be controlled, he said.

When the Lamphelpat has been restored and successfully conserved, it would reduce or mitigate flash floods that happen frequently in Imphal area. Human settlement and development can take place vertically without affecting the wetland, he said, adding that timely and speedy conservation of the wetland would automatically preserve the habitat of migratory birds or ducks.


First published:23 Feb 2022, 5:36 am


environmentwildlifebirdsimphal westlamphelpatFerruginous duck

Babie Shirin

Babie Shirin

IFP Reporter, IMPHAL, Manipur


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