Telemetry tracking being used to learn about the lesser florican

Technology has come to the rescue of the lesser florican (Sypheotides indicus) in Saurashtra, Gujarat. The bird, known as khadmor locally, is the smallest bustard species in the world and is endemic to the Indian subcontinent.The bird is listed as “Critically Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species and its population as “Decreasing”. The worldwide population stands at 700 individuals, about 300 of them in India. When a species is critically endangered, it means it has seen a 75 to 80 per cent decline in its population over three or four generations. In short, it is not reproducing at the rate required to sustain the future of the species. In India, it has the highest protection under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.Astonishing mating displayThe lesser florican is the only species in its genus and is a chicken-sized bird with long legs. The male has three 10-centimetre-long ribbon-like feathers behind the ear region that seem to be of use in the courtship display. It has an astonishing mating display, which, sadly, could be partly responsible for its critical status.Its mating rituals are well documented. The male employs highly energetic means to obtain a mate. He leaps up one and a half metres in the air, his “ribbons” flying upwards, so that he is visible over the top of the grass in the grasslands where he lives so as to attract a female. She, clearly, is difficult to please, and because of this the male sometimes leaps 350 to 400 times a day depending on the weather. In cool weather the florican jumps more. When it is hot, he restricts this to the cooler hours of the day. Unfortunately, this vigorous drawing of attention to itself attracts more than the female lesser florican; it has made the bird an easy target for hunters. Once it was realised that the bird’s flesh is more than palatable, it became a favourite to shoot and eat. The bird is an easy target also because it uses the same area for its daily displays. The killings are doubly tragic. Not only is the bird killed, bu
Read More

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button