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White-breasted Waterhen with chicks

Amaurornis phoenicurus


Dark grey upper parts and flanks. White underparts and face. Underside of the tail is rusty in colour. The beak and legs are yellow. Chicks are dark charcoal-y black; legs are long and spindly. Still covered in downy feathers.


Just beside the plant nursery I go to are a couple of largish ponds. The approach path to the ponds is filled with discarded stuff and piles of dry leaves etc. I saw something bubbling in the water and creating ripples and ventured near hoping to see fish or snakes...did not see the aquatic creature but spotted a waterhen couple with their two adorable chicks. One of the two adult birds remained near the chicks at all times.

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SukanyaDatta 4 years ago

They would DEFINITELY be caught and eaten if spotted easily. I don't advocate piling garbage everywhere (though it is a problem we do denying)...just that MAYBE it is a blessing in disguise...even if it keeps the chick alive for one more day...just trying to find a thin...very thin silver lining to a huge black cloud.

I have seen deer (in Adyar, Chennai) and peacocks (in New Delhi) finding food in garbage dumps. It is heartbreaking what loss of habitat is doing...foraging off garbage bins is not a may cause infection/toxicity as you point out...I may wish the earth's resources were more evenly shared among all species...but the way we are going soon there will be only us...and garbage.

Machi 4 years ago

Do you think people would try to catch them if they were easier to access? Even if it keeps them somewhat safe from people, I don't think garbage can keep them safe in the long run after seeing so many photos of animals that have eaten or got caught up in garbage. Not to mention the toxicity of things that might be lurking in/on the garbage.

SukanyaDatta 4 years ago

@Machi, I know...but perhaps the garbage is what is keeping them one goes there. In fact the workers at the nursery came calling out to me when I went close to the water's edge stepping on broken terracotta pots and stuff...may be it is a blessing in disguise or maybe I am in denial about the way we have dirtied our cities.

Machi 4 years ago

So cute! I wish they weren't surrounded by garbage

SukanyaDatta 4 years ago

Yes, I was quite happy too...this is only the second time I have ever seen the chicks and the first time I could take photos.

WOW Great! Sukanya you are so lucky to spot those chicks, its rear to catch them.

Spotted by

Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Spotted on Jun 30, 2017
Submitted on Jun 30, 2017

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