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Bar-headed geese make debut appearance in Taiwan

Unique bird species known for reaching extreme altitudes on migrations across Himalayas

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Bar-headed geese known for their ability to reach extreme altitudes. (Pixabay photo) 

Bar-headed geese known for their ability to reach extreme altitudes. (Pixabay photo) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Rare bar-headed geese made a surprise visit to Taiwan earlier this week, marking their first recorded appearance in the subtropical nation.

Native to East and South Asia, the black-and-white-headed birds are known for their ability to reach extreme altitudes during their biannual migration across the Himalayas. They have been recorded at heights of more than 7,000 meters, with a few mountain climbers even reportedly seeing them fly over summits around Mount Everest that are over 8,000 meters high.

A bar-headed goose typically weighs 2-3 kilograms and grows to 68-78 centimeters long. It usually breeds around lakes and marshes in the Middle East and migrates to low wetlands in South Asia to spend the winter.

A Taiwanese birdwatcher surnamed Lai (賴) said he first found the unlikely visitors on the Lanyang Plain in Yilan County on Tuesday (Jan. 12). He said there were eight bar-headed geese in total and that he was excited to share his discovery with bird lovers across the country.

Huang Shu-ting (黃蜀婷), the head of a bird photography club in Tainan, said she rushed to Yilan at 2 a.m. Friday morning after hearing the news. She pointed out that this was the first time the avians had visited Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Yilan Wild Bird Federation President Chen Chieh-peng (陳介鵬) said the unusual appearance of the bar-headed geese may be attributed to climate change. He added that the recent cold air masses near Taiwan could also be a factor, reported CNA.

Bar-headed geese make debut appearance in Taiwan
Bar-headed geese spotted on Yilan's Lanyang Plain Tuesday. (Lai photo)


Updated : 2021-03-02 13:35 GMT+08:00