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Bengal Bustard spotted in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve

Bengal Bustard spotted in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve

Sep 26, 2015

PILIBHIT: Critically endangered bird, Bengal Florican (Houbaropsis bengalensis), also called Bengal Bustard, has been sighted in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve. The bird is listed as critically endangered species on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) red list because less than 1,500 of these birds were estimated to be alive in 2013. It is the only member of the genus Houbaropsis. Bengal Florican belongs to the bustard species and is a native of the Indian subcontinent, Cambodia and Vietnam. Apart from Bengal Bustard, vultures were also be sighted in the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve forests and they are also an endangered species. Some other threatened species like Black Neck Stork, Painted Stork and many more have been spotted in PTR. According to PTR’s sub divisionsal forest officer DP Singh, “The Bengal Florican, a critically endangered species, was sighted in the grasslands of Mahof range during its breeding season, which is between March and May. Some six to eight birds were spotted.


“The PTR forests have many water bodies which attract many migratory birds. For bird lovers, this forest is a paradise where species like Black Necked Stork, Barn Owl, Created Serpent Eagle, Painted Stork, Copper Smith Vulture, Jungle owlets, etc can be sighted during season.” The reserve will open for tourists in November. Bengal Bustard’s population has declined to a critical level largely due to widespread and on-going conversion of its grassland habitat for agriculture purposes, Singh said. The distinctive looks of the Bengal Bustard makes it easy to be identified. The male is mostly black with large white wings. In flight, its wings turn entirely white except for black tips. Females are larger than the males and have a buff-brown colour similar to the males’ back, with a dark brown crown and narrow dark streaks down the side of the neck. Their wing coverts are lighter than the remiges and covered in fine dark barring. Immature birds look like females. These birds are are normally silent but when disturbed utter a shrill metallic chik-chik-chik call. Displaying males croak and produce a strange deep humming sound.

With the sighting of Bengal Bustard was sighted in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, officials said conservation plans would now have to be extended to Pilibhit as well. So far, the Bengal Florican Conservation Area (BFCA) network covers Cambodia, Chitwan National Park, Royal Bardia National Park and Sukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve, Nepal, Kaziranga, Dibru-Saikhowa and Dudwa National Park in India. However, the bird is also sighted in the PTR, so there is a need to have the BFCA here as well.




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