Saturday, 21 January 2012

Bar Headed Goose

Last week, we drove down to Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary. This place is around 15 km from Gurgaon and is a good spot for watching birds or having a picnic with family and feeling closer to nature. It is not as established a park as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary where you can hire guides and take guided rickshaw trips with rickshaw drivers helping you in spotting and identifying different birds. Here, you are on your own and you need to take the trip on foot. We spotted many birds including purple heron, spotted owlets, kingfishers, cormorants, egrets, coots, teals, shovelers, painted storks, greylag geese and bar headed geese.

The one which I really liked was the migratory bar headed goose. Not only is it interesting in its looks with black bars (stripes) on its head, it has interesting facts associated with it. Bar Heade Geese are the world's highest flying birds. These birds can fly at an altitude of 29,500 feet, nearly as high as commercial aircraft. They travel all the way from Mongolia, cross the Himalayas and reach India. They spend the winter in India and in summer, they fly back to their breeding grounds in Central Asia. They are known to be able to cross the Himalayas in one single day. Most passes in the Himalayas are at a height of more than five kilometres where the air is thin and oxygen level low. Scientists have been working on their anatomy to figure out how they sustain their oxygen levels.  The studies show that the geese have bigger wings, bigger lungs, a dense network of capillaries surrounding the flight muscle and haemoglobin that more tightly binds oxygen to the lungs work together to sustain oxygen flow throughout the bird's circulatory system, including its flight muscle.

It was nice to look at these birds, who make one of the highest and most-researched trans-mountain migrations in the world.

Bar Headed Geese


  1. It certainly is a wonderful place to watch birds. I have been there too, many years ago :-)

  2. Thanks Giribala for dropping by. Yeah it is a nice place & birding is a good thing to introduce to kids, i feel.

  3. 29000 ft, wow. thanx for sharing all the info and the place looks cool too. great post.

  4. Interesting insights about the bird.

    I wonder how they manage to fly at 29500 ft.

  5. interesting i had no clue about all this .. maybe next time when i am in gurgaon can persuade my cousin to take me to this place ..



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