Black Kite Scavenging on Greater flamingo at Chilika Lake, Odisha.

Ramnath Chandrasekhar
Ramnath Chandrasekhar

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

Chilika Lake in Odisha is reportedly the largest wintering ground for migrants in India. Once regarded as a dying lake, it was brought back to life thanks to scientific restoration. The kite scavenging on a greater flamingo carcass exemplifies how nothing goes waste in nature.

Chilika Lake in Odisha is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds in India. It was a dying lake in the 80s, but has been brought back to life thanks to scientific restoration. It is now a haven for an incredible range of biodiversity. The complex ecosystem of Chilika supports the livelihoods of more than two hundred thousand people in Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha.

When I was photographing at Nalaban bird sanctuary in Chilika Lake during the month of January a couple of years ago, thousands of birds, including pintails, wigeons and godwits were busily feeding in the rich waters.

The water level recedes after the monsoon, and exposes Nalaban island during the winter months and dry season. Far away on the banks of the island, there was a pink coloured pile that caught my attention. A closer look revealed it to be a dead Greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus). A black kite (Milvus migrans) was soaring above it. The kite, a common scavenging raptor, glided down to feed on the flamingo. The cause of death of the flamingo was unknown. The kite feeding on the flamingo is testimony that nothing goes waste in nature. Everything is recycled. Greater flamingoes are believed to come here from the Kutch area in Gujarat for feeding during the winter months .



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