The bird that can dive up to 35 m is around us

By | January 18, 2016

It was in the 80s. “Mom, there is a bird screaming and cackling. It’s eerie,” in the dim light of kerosene lamps, I remember asking my mom about a bird that screamed almost every night. My mom clarified by saying that it was Hoagolhaa. The high pitched calls of the bird were heard from a coconut palm tree in a nearby household. According to people, it was a strange bird of the night. Some people said hoagolha was a large bird that came from the sea. These are the information that we know at that time.

The bird’s twittering calls and mewing are often only heard at night. When I searched for information about this bird, a piercing cry usually is given when they rest in groups on the water. The calls of flesh-footed shearwaters resemble cats fighting, with loud wailing and moaning. I always love birds and nature.

One of my favorite birds is the yellow bittern or raabol (raabondhi) and the eagle or locally called baanzu. I remember my father keeping a tame yellow bittern in my house for more than two years, in the 80s. The tame bird stayed on a wooden slab, fixed at about 6ft from the ground. It stayed in the slab and would fly away three or four times a day to kilhi- fresh water lake- for hunting fish. Then  it  returned to the slab. I have not seen a hoagolha while I was living in my island (till 1987). According to people the bird is unusual and “not good-looking.” And its weird and uncanny. Therefore superstitious fear obsessed us.

But most of the stories or information about this bird is not ture. All are myths. I tried to gather information about this bird and was able to get fascinating information. Read the information about the plunging and diving skills of these birds at the bottom of this article. I have listed and extracted information of the four types of  these birds found in the Maldives. I have categorized.

These birds are called shearwaters. They are medium-sized long-winged seabirds. There are more than 30 species of shearwaters. In our country four main types of these birds are found. They are Hoagulha– Streaked Shearwater, Dhivehi Hoagulha– Audubon’s, Shearwater, Bodu Hoagulhaa– Wedged-tailed Shearwater, Maa Hoagulhaa– Flash-footed Shearwater.

Hoagolhaa is called Audubon’s Shearwater (Puffinus lherminieri). The great shearwater feeds on fish and squid, which it catches from the surface or by plunge-diving. It readily follows fishing boats, where it indulges in noisy squabbles. This is a gregarious species, which can be seen in large numbers from ships or appropriate headlands. This seabird is widespread in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans, mostly in tropical waters; in North America, it is regular over warm waters off the southeastern coast. At sea it is usually solitary or in small groups.

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