Floating in the Maguri-Motapung beel (or wetland) in Assam’s Tinsukia district for over a week is the spectacular and rare Mandarin duck. First spotted on February 8 by Madhab Gogoi, the duck has since become the star of the wetland.
- Considered the most beautiful duck in the world, the Mandarin duck, or the (Aix galericulata) was first identified by Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist Carl Linnaeus in 1758.
- It is a “small-exotic looking bird” native to East Asia.
- The migratory duck breeds in Russia, Korea, Japan, and the north-eastern parts of China, explained Gogoi. It now has established populations in Western Europe and America too.
- The duck, however, rarely visits India as it does not fall in its usual migratory route.
- Its IUCN status is Least Concern.
- While the duck is not a globally threatened species, spotting one is always considered significant because they only make “rare appearances.”
- The Maguri Motapung wetland — an Important Bird Area as declared by the Bombay Natural History Society — is located close to the Dibru Saikhowa National Park in Upper Assam.
- In May 2020, the beel was adversely affected by a blowout and fire at an Oil India Limited-owned gas well.