Shallabugh wetland is 16 km northwest of Srinagar and spans across 150 ha. Some of the popular migratory birds visiting the Shallabugh reserve include Geese, Bar Geese, White Heeled Duck, Shoveller, Red-Crested Pochard, White-Eyed Pochard, Common Teal, Pintail, Mallard, Gadwall, Coot, Hook, and Graylag. Among these, Pintail, Common Teal, and Gadwall are the birds visiting this wetland in maximum numbers.
The wetland together with the marshes is fed by the Sindh River and local runoff. According to officials, the migratory birds come to Shallabugh wetland far off places like Siberia, Central Asia, Northern Europe, Ladakh, China, and Central Asia. The average depth of the water varies from 0.5 to 2.0 m.
The entire wetland is thronged by game birds particularly during winter months and the wetland also supports the locally important fishery and reed-harvesting industry, which provides excellent opportunities for the local fisherman community. The wetland is an important staging and wintering area for migratory Anatidae: are the biological family of water birds that includes ducks, geese, and swans and breeding place for a variety of waterfowl species.
The flying visitors started to throng to this wetland from the first week of November last and the outward migration is expected to start from March up to mid-April.
One of the best-known and most recognizable functions of wetlands is to provide a habitat for birds and other species. While visiting a wetland, you are likely to see a range of waterfowl activity. The value wetlands provide to a bird species greatly depends on water availability, depth, and quality; the availability of food and shelter; and the presence of predators. The presence of surface water and the duration and timing of flooding attracts different bird species.