A question often comes to my mind when I think about the diverse ecosystem of the Tanguar Haor: “Who is actually the king of this scenic wetland?”
Whenever I have visited this beautiful and unique wetland, the prevalence of a certain eagle species has always caught my attention. Once you are in the haor, you will enjoy the sight of an eagle chasing a flock of ducks.
From that sight to its ever familiar “kro-kro” noise, which fills the haor, and to its unique way of picking up a large fish, it seems that this eagle owns the haor and is the real king of the place. This is Pallas's Fish Eagle, the emperor of “Tanguar Haor”.
Pallas's Fish Eagle is a migratory raptor of Bangladesh. During summer, it departs our country for Tibet due to availability of food there and stays there for 3-4 months.
The eagle stays in the country during winter when the haor dries up and food is abundant for them. They prefer to stay in flocks and reproduces mostly in our country.
Tanguar Haor provides the largest breeding area in the country for the eagles. The abundance of food makes the haor an important site for this species. I have spotted around 12 nesting sites of Pallas's eagle in the last 3 years.
The fish eagle's characteristics are quite unique. Only a few pairs of the eagle are seen in the haor every year, and these few pairs have enriched the diversity of the haor.
One of the main characteristics of the bird is that it prefers to nest in the same place over and over again if it has the opportunity. The bird nests in the trees in the haor.
However, problem arises for them when the trees are cut down.
Due to this, conflict between the eagle and the resident crows is common as the crows also often use the same trees for their own breeding purposes.
Successful breeding for Pallas's eagle includes the laying of eggs by the female and incubating the eggs. Both the male and female birds contribute equally during the incubation period. They also guard their nests during that period.
The writer is a principal investigator of the White-rumped Vulture Conservation Project of IUCN.