In a first, greater flamingoes spotted in Himachal’s Pong wetlands

  • More than 125,000 birds of 93 species have been spotted in Himachal Pradesh’s Pong Dam wetlands. Among them, greater flamingoes, a common migratory species in India’s coastal areas, have been recorded for the first time here, an official said.
  • A total of 52,530 bar-headed geese, the world’s highest-altitude migrant and a rare winter migrant in other Indian wetlands, were also recorded. They are regular winter migrants here.
  • The man-made Pong Dam wetlands, one of the largest such in the foothills of the Himalayas in the picturesque Kangra Valley, are located 250 km from state capital Shimla.
  • The bird, which stands four feet tall with its S-curved neck and is a common migrant to the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, has been spotted in the marshy areas of Nagrota Suriyan.
  • In 2013, a rare winter migrant, the whooper swan, was spotted here for the first time.
  • The gregarious bar-headed geese, which start arriving in October and stay till March-end, fed at night in the grasslands on riverbanks and breeds in high-altitude lakes in Central Asia, as also in Tibet and Ladakh.
  • Listed under Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, the global population of the bar-headed geese is believed to be around 130,000, wildlife experts say.
  • The Pong wetlands are also home to many native birds like the red jungle fowl, large Indian parakeet, Indian cuckoo, bank myna, wood shrike, yellow-eyed babbler, black ibis, paradise flycatcher, crested lark and the crested bunting.
More Details on Pong Dam:
  • The Pong Dam, also known as the Beas Dam, is an earth-fill embankment dam on the Beas River just upstream of Talwara in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India.
  • The purpose of the dam is water storage for irrigation and hydroelectric power generation. 
  • As the second phase of the Beas Project, construction on the dam began in 1961 and was completed in 1974.
  • At the time of its completion, the Pong Dam was the tallest of its type in India.
  • The lake created by the dam, Maharana Pratap Sagar, became a renowned bird sanctuary.

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