The White-winged duck (Asarcornis scutulata) is a species of large, aquatic bird that is native to Southeast Asia. The evolutionary history of the White-winged duck is not well understood, but it is believed to have evolved from a common ancestor of ducks and geese over 40 million years ago.
It is not clear how the White-winged duck reached India, as it is not a native species to the country. However, it is believed that the bird may have migrated to India from Southeast Asia, either through natural dispersal or through the human introduction. The White-winged duck is known to be a migratory bird, and it is possible that some individuals may have flown to India in search of suitable habitats.
Distribution and Population in India
The White-winged duck is a rare and endangered species in India, and its population is limited to a few isolated locations in the northeastern part of the country. The bird is found in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and other areas of the northeastern Himalayas.
According to recent surveys, the total population of White-winged ducks in India is estimated to be less than 250 individuals. The bird is primarily found in forested wetlands and other aquatic habitats, where it feeds on a variety of plant and animal materials.
Despite the small population size, efforts are being made to conserve and protect the remaining White-winged duck populations in India. Conservation efforts include habitat restoration, establishment of protected areas, and raising awareness about the importance of this species for local ecosystems.
It should be noted that the White-winged duck is a migratory bird, and individuals may move between India and neighboring countries in Southeast Asia, where the species is also found. Conservation efforts are being coordinated across national borders to ensure the long-term survival of the White-winged duck throughout its range.
The White-winged duck is a large bird, with males measuring around 78-86 cm in length and females around 68-76 cm in length. The bird has a wingspan of around 140-160 cm, and its weight ranges from 1.5 to 2.3 kg. It has a striking appearance, with a dark head and neck, a light-colored body, and white feathers on its wings that are visible in flight. The male and female White-winged ducks are very similar in appearance, although males are slightly larger than females.
White-winged ducks are primarily found in forested wetlands and other aquatic habitats, where they feed on a variety of plant and animal materials. They are known to be active during the day and are often found swimming, diving, or foraging in shallow water. White-winged ducks are typically monogamous, and pairs remain together for the breeding season. Breeding occurs during the monsoon season in India, with females typically laying 6-12 eggs in a nest on the ground or in a tree hollow. The incubation period is around 30 days, and young White-winged ducks reach maturity at around 2-3 years of age.
White-winged ducks are omnivores and feed on a variety of plant and animal materials, including aquatic plants, insects, fish, and crustaceans.
They are dependent on wetland habitats for their survival and are found in forested swamps, oxbow lakes, and other wetland habitats with dense vegetation cover.
In India, White-winged ducks are primarily found in the northeastern part of the country, including Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
White-winged duck is considered a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It was first listed as vulnerable in 1988 and has remained on the IUCN Red List as a vulnerable species ever since. The White-winged duck is dependent on wetland habitats with dense vegetation cover, which are under threat from human activities such as deforestation, conversion of wetlands to agricultural land, and hydroelectric dam construction. White-winged ducks are prized by hunters and are also sometimes trapped for the illegal pet trade, which has contributed to declines in population size. The introduction of non-native species such as predatory fish, feral dogs, and invasive plants can have negative impacts on White-winged duck populations, as they can compete with or prey upon native species. Changes in climate patterns can have negative impacts on the wetland habitats that White-winged ducks depend on, including altered rainfall patterns and rising temperatures.
Due to these threats, the White-winged duck is considered a vulnerable species, with populations declining across its range. Conservation efforts are underway to protect and conserve the remaining populations of White-winged ducks, including habitat restoration, the establishment of protected areas, and raising awareness about the importance of this species for local ecosystems.
In India, the White-winged duck is a protected species, and several areas have been designated as protected areas for the conservation of the species.
Dihing-Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the eastern part of Assam and covers an area of 111 sq. km. The sanctuary is known to be an important habitat for the White-winged duck, and efforts are underway to protect and conserve the species in this area.
Namdapha National Park is located in the eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh and covers an area of 1,985 sq. km. It is one of the largest protected areas in the country and is known to be an important habitat for a variety of endangered species, including the White-winged duck. Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh and covers an area of 783 sq. km. It is known to be an important habitat for several rare and endangered species, including the White-winged duck. Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the western part of Arunachal Pradesh and covers an area of 862 sq. km. The sanctuary is known to be an important habitat for a variety of endangered species, including the White-winged duck.
In addition to these protected areas, several other wetland habitats in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh have been identified as important habitats for the White-winged duck, and conservation efforts are underway to protect and conserve these areas as well.