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White-breasted Waterhen

Amaurornis phoenicurus


As the name hints: looks like a hen. White cheeks and front of neck, dark back and wings; rust coloured vent feathers...and a pink 'bindi.' Extremely elongated toes!


It had rained last night and I was glad I did not have to water the garden but could spare some time to take in the fragrance of the jasmine when I noticed this bird on the neighbour's wall across the lane. I ran to get the camera. Very swiftly it crossed the road and came closer foraging on the grassy verge of the house opposite mine. It foraged a bit (first 2 shots) very close. Suddenly it spotted me and flew to sit atop the gate at the base of which it had been foraging. You can see how it has spread its toes in order not to slide down. Finally it flew into the vegetation-covered abandoned house that is just two doors away.


With my morning walk axed, I am glad whenever old friends like this one drop in. Today I spotted (for the first time here) a Bronze-winged Jacana as I was returning home after work.

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Neil Ross
Neil Ross 4 months ago

I like this bird - it has character, and looks very friendly and inquisitive! I hope you make it to Australia one day, Sukanya. I'm sure you'll love it! I never tire of our flora and fauna :)

SukanyaDatta 4 months ago

A new spotting for you...that makes me so happy...because I (a lapsed zoologist) have never been to Australia/New celebrated for the flora and fauna...and I am always amazed by the spottings from there (and total fan of your notes). BTW, this bird is quite celebrated in Bangla poetry.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 4 months ago

Beautiful spotting! Now this is a new species for me! I love the story too, Sukanya. Thank you :)

SukanyaDatta 4 months ago

Thank you, Dawn for the kind words
Yes, those elongated toes are really something. Here is another bird I spotted that can give it a run for its money:

Awesome spotting! Those are some pretty amazing toes! Thanks for sharing.

Spotted by

Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Spotted on Apr 22, 2021
Submitted on Apr 22, 2021

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