This anatid is one of the most amazing birds on Earth. It comes down to India all the way from Central Asia, 6000 km away. It is the only bird known to fly at an altitude of 35,000 feet. That’s the cruising altitude of a Boeing 757. On the way to India, these geese fly right over the Himalayas, and have been sighted flying over Mount Everest. Covering 1000 km per day, the bar-headed goose spends its winters in North India and sometimes visits us down South, before flying back 6000 km to breed in Central Asia.
In Indian mythology, the bar-headed goose is known as ‘hamsa’. Contrary to what most people believe, hamsa is not the swan, but the bar-headed goose. The bird’s binomial name Anser indicus, is derived from ‘hamsa’. Ancient Indian texts describe the bird’s native home as the Manasarovar lake in Tibet. Kalidasa, the 4th century poet, writes about the journey of the bar-headed goose across the Himalayas, in his epic poem, Raghuvamsam.
This year, the bar-headed geese decided to pay a visit to Namma Karnataka. I took this shot at Kaggalipura lake near Maddur, 120 km from Bangalore.
Class Aves rocks!