Migratory Birds in the Maldives

01 Nov 2010

Most people who come to the Maldives appreciate the beautiful birds that spend their time on the beaches.

Compared to the abundant underwater life around Kuredu, the land based animals are represented by only a few species.

The small size and isolation of this Indian Ocean republic means that animal life is restricted and only a few bird species are considered as permanent residents.

But autumn is the time of the year when many migrant species from the northern hemisphere travel to their winter destinations. The Maldives are a perfect stepping stone for them to rest for a few days, and enjoy the white golden sand and turquoise lagoons.

Markus, one of our diving instructors, is also a keen bird watcher and has been checking regularly what has been going on. This week, on just two evenings he found 7 different species of Waders, all of which are not a species that breeds in the Maldives.

Next to the quite common Rudy Turnstones (Arenaria interpres) there were a few Lesser- and also Great Sandplovers (Charadrius mongolus, Charadrius leschenaultii).

The Temminck’s Stint (Calidris temminckii) and the Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) have both been running up and down the beach, looking like twins and very difficult to distinguish one from the other.

Two curiosities finally showed up during sunset: A Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus), with its long slightly upward curving beak, and a Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica), the biggest bird from this group.

So for a nature-lover who walks around with open eyes, the dry land provides some small hidden treasures!