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Huge birds flocking around - Ousteri lake part 1

Majestic in size and shape
Hysterically foraging with dipped-in head
Pinkish tint lightens up the surface

Flamingo it is! Gorgeous greater flamingos flock together at Ousteri Lake, Puducherry between mid or late June till September every year. They arrive here once the water level drops as the lake serves a massive feeding ground with variety of food.

Huge birds flocking around - Ousteri lake part 1
A Flock of Greater Flamingo

Watching these adorable creatures is a feast to our eyes. Their delicate elongated neck, curved head with downward positioned beak makes them distinctive. They feed on algae, diatoms and sometimes even crustaceans like shrimps, prawns, etc. Thus the pink colouration, which is predominantly caused by beta-carotene due to its diet preferences.

The other day (last week of August) when I visited the lake, I saw spot-billed pelicans in huge numbers (around 500 approx). They were busy feeding the cat fishes along the banks. You could witness this yourself at Ousteri lake, most frequently before 6 am depending upon the human activity.

With its huge body, Pelicans looks effortless on water. From the distance, I have seen a small group of them coming towards the bank in search of food. Sensing a stranger (humans), a few of them turned around smoothly without any panic. Man! It got a style.

On the contrary, brown-headed gull – which I spotted at Pangong lake, Ladakh - was very expressive during such instances. It calls out loud and kicks the water lunging forward; looked cute though. Similiarly, little cormorant keep-up its momentum by its energetic to-and-fro neck movement.

Huge birds flocking around - Ousteri lake part 1
Group hunting of Pelicans

So these Pelicans have a big pouch connecting its mouth and throat. These guys are not just huge but also smart. They join together in groups and flap its wings on the surface of water scaring and pushing the fishes towards shallow end of the lake. And have a feast by scooping almost all by expanding their throat pouch. At times, I have also seen cormorants with them. Maybe they like feasting with these huge guys. 

Huge birds flocking around - Ousteri lake part 1
Communal feasting between Pelicans and Cormorants

As I was witnessing these communal feasting, there came a huge flock of greater flamingoes flying from far-east and settled down together on the northern side of the lake. I caught a better view from the distance; aerial view would have been the best though. With a well-stretched stance, flamingoes look gigantic even from distance and also majestic. And with a flash, its pink colouration fills the air.

Huge birds flocking around - Ousteri lake part 1
Here comes the flock

After settling down, without further ado, they hurried down scanning the surface in search of food. Their feeding position is unusually attractive as its head is positioned upside down, primarily due to its beak’s position. It is one such unique feeding pattern noted among the water birds. At times, it comes up and does a little bit of stretching before going back to its position.

Flamingoes have a noticeable disruption on their beaks. It assists them to filter their food. Generally, these guys flock together and feed on a shallow surface of the lake. Sometimes they can also go to the deeper side of the lake but not together. Yes! If you see these species in less numbers or alone (very rarely), it probably indicates the deeper side of the lake with fewer resources not sufficient to accommodate the entire colony.  

More such observations happened at this beautiful lake. Stay tuned…
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  1. Wow ! Never knew our ousteri had so much lovely birdies!!! Reading this prompts me to go witness the spectacular scene!!great work!!thanks a ton for sharing experience!!

    1. Try to spend some time in such places with your kid. Trust me, its totally worth it and you will love it. Thanks for your comments.

  2. Nice and engaging to read. Flamingoes and Pelicans here we come.

  3. Wow! I was not aware of Pondicherry being home to these beautiful birds. I loved your shots. Thank you for sharing! What a lovely post.

    1. Pondicherry has more such beautiful natural landscapes. Do read my first post, which is about another lake in pondy. And of course more to come.


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