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Buff-Breasted Sandpiper


Recently, a rare bird from the arctic tundra, Buff-breasted sandpiper, was sighted in Kannur, Kerala.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Buff-breasted Sandpiper: A Delicately Beautiful Shorebird
  2. Key Facts about the Arctic Tundra

Buff-breasted Sandpiper: A Delicately Beautiful Shorebird

  • Appearance: The Buff-breasted Sandpiper is considered one of the most delicately beautiful of all shorebirds.
  • Breeding and Migration: These birds breed in the open arctic tundra of North America and usually migrate to South America for winters.
  • Habitat: During migration, they are commonly found in North American habitats, primarily on dry, open ground such as prairies and pastures.
  • Mating Behavior: Male Buff-breasted Sandpipers gather in groups on display territories known as leks. They display their eye-catching underwings to compete for the attention of females.
  • Long-Distance Migrant: This species is a champion long-distance migrant, traveling thousands of miles from their high-Arctic nesting grounds to winter on the grasslands of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay.
  • Conservation Status: The Buff-breasted Sandpiper is categorized as “Near Threatened” according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Key Facts about the Arctic Tundra:

  • Biome Description: The Arctic tundra is the northernmost biome, characterized by vast, dry, rocky landscapes with few trees.
  • Geographical Range: It covers the land north of the Arctic Circle up to the polar ice cap and reaches as far south as the Hudson Bay area of Canada and the northern part of Iceland.
  • Etymology: The word “tundra” originates from the Finnish word “tunturi,” meaning ‘treeless plain.’
  • Permafrost: One crucial characteristic of the tundra is permafrost, which refers to permanently frozen ground. The tundra’s soil is rocky and nutrient-poor, with slow organic matter decomposition.
  • Carbon Sink: Despite the absence of trees, the tundra is a significant carbon sink due to large amounts of organic matter found in peat and humus deposits.
  • Temperature: Temperatures in the tundra range from 15.5°C in summer to -60°C in winter. Mean temperatures remain below 0°C for six to ten months of the year.
  • Annual Precipitation: The annual precipitation in the tundra is around 150 to 250mm. Most of this precipitation does not evaporate due to the low temperatures.

-Source: The Hindu


July 2024