Tag Archives: Dabbling duck

Balcony Birding: Indian Spot-Billed Duck



Always behave like a duck.
Keep calm and unruffled on the surface, but paddle like hell underwater.

Balcony Birding | Flyover | Indian Spot-Billed Duck | Anas Poecilorhyncha

I have been enjoying bird watching from my balcony since Feb end and during lockdown it has been my source of joy & hope. Some of the species that I have spotted are found on an everyday basis; some are visitors; some are migratory; some flyovers. I have already shared a trivia on two species, the Asiatic Parakeets which are both visitors & flyovers; and the flyover migratory Rosy Starlings

The flyovers are a challenge to photograph. It requires me to crane my neck in all four direction from my third floor balcony, which is mammoth task given the limited view and focus range. Am practically always looking up in the sky while trying to keep vigil all around. With these flighty friends its like “blink and you miss me” and Lord it happens to me more often I would want it to.

Dive into life;
Enjoy a good swim;
Let troubles roll off your back;
Take time to preen;
Look beneath the surface;
Shake your tail feathers;
Don’t quack up.

Indian Spot-Billed Duck, an occasional flyover in my locality

I keep telling the birds to fly lower, stop & perch themselves on top of the Semal tree or sit closer so that I get a decent capture but in vain hahahhaha. Nevertheless the birds are a blessing from above and I love the fact they can be seen all around from the comfort of home.

Large but stealthy. I often notice them when they are vanishing from my view
Silhouette time

Today I am sharing a trivia on the Indian Spot-Billed Duck which fly over very quietly and fast, early in the morning or around sunset (which means there is less light) and more often than not there is a silhouette that gets captured. Once in a blue moon I am lucky to catch them in some light. Neither do they come daily nor do they adhere to a consistent flying direction. Which means if they have been flying East to West today does not mean the same will be the case the next time too. This adds to the challenge of spotting them on time and being able to click them within 2-6 secs.

Under & Upper wings look; notice the teal green patch.

There are three types or subspecies of Spot Billed, the Indian Spot-Billed duck (Anas Poecilorhyncha Poecilorhyncha), Eastern Spot-Billed duck (Anas Poecilorhyncha Zonorhyncha), and Burmese Spot-Billed duck (Anas Poecilorhyncha Haringtoni). The Indian Spot-Billed is a freshwater (dabbling) duck. It is large with a greyish brown body. The juveniles are browner and duller than adults.

I love to see them flying in sync

The black bill with yellow tip and orange-red spots at the base is a distinct feature in the male and is absent or inconspicuous in the smaller but otherwise similar female. Another feature to check is the teal green patch bordered by white in its wings. The legs and feet are bright orange to coral red.

Upper wings – brown and teal green with white lining
The name is derived from the yellow and red spots on the bill.
Notice its bright orange to coral red feet

I still capture them and look out for them. Hopefully I will get a clearer and closer frame of theirs’s one day!

…… and I did get a closer capture of them in their habitat. The following photos are from the Hauz Khas Lake (December 2020)

A female Indian Spot-Billed Duck (red spot missing)
Enjoying the lake’s freshwater
The Hauz Khas Lake was full of them and some other water species too

Do watch out for the next post on another species from my #BalconyBirding list

Posts shared so far on:
1. Rosy Starlings
2. Alexandrine Parakeet
3. Rose-Ringed Parakeet

4. Plum Headed Parakeet
5. Yellow-Footed Green Pigeon

6. Indian Spot-Billed Duck

Enjoy a video on them on my YouTube Channel (Subscribe if you haven’t)



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Monika Ohson | TravelerInMe

This published post is being shared as part of:

#WordlessWednesday hosted by Natasha & Esha
and some more Sue ,  Betty  , Zina