Great Indian Bustard

AUG 9

Preliminary   > Environment and Ecology   >   Species extinction & protection   >   Species in news

Why in news?

  • Great Indian Bustards in Rajasthan’s Desert National Park have adopted an altogether new habit of laying a clutch of two eggs at a time after having a diet with additional proteins during the monsoon season.
  • Bustards usually lay only one egg in a breeding season that lasts from March to October.

About Great Indian Bustard:

  • It is one of the heaviest flying birds (weighing up to 15kgs). They inhabit dry grasslands and scrublands on the Indian subcontinent.
  • Conservation Status:
    • IUCN Red List: It is a Critically Endangered species with less than 150 birds left in the wild.
    • CITES: Appendix I
    • Wildlife (Protection) Act,1972: Schedule I
  • Habitat:
    • It is endemic to the Indian subcontinent. It is found in Rajasthan (Desert National park), Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh in India and parts of Pakistan.

Characteristics:

  • Great Indian bustards are tall birds with long legs and long necks; the tallest individuals may stand up to 1.2 metres high.
  • Males and females are distinguished by the colour of their feathers.
  • Food Habits:
    • Great Indian bustards are omnivores. They prey on various arthropods, worms, small mammals, and small reptiles.

Threats:

  • Death by collision with infrastructure, particularly power lines and wind turbines
  • Depletion of grasslands
  • Hunting
  • Development of mines and human habitation in and around their habitats among others.

Conservation Initiatives:

  • Project Great Indian Bustard:
    • It was launched by Rajasthan Government with the objective of conservation of the remaining population of critically endangered Great Indian Bustard(Ardeotis nigriceps) locally called Godawan.
  • Firefly bird diverters:
    •  These are flaps installed on power lines, a reason for many deaths among GIB. They work as reflectors for bird species like the GIB. Birds can spot them from a distance of about 50 meters and change their path of flight to avoid collision with power lines.

About Desert National Park:

  • Desert National Park is a national park situated in the Indian state of Rajasthan. This is one of the largest national parks.
  • The Park is an excellent example of the ecosystem of the Thar Desert. Sand dunes form around 44% of the Park.
  • The Chinkara or Indian Gazelle (Gazella bennettii) is a common antelope of this region. The Great Indian Bustard is also found here in relatively fair numbers.

PRACTICE QUESTION

Consider the following statements regarding ‘Indian Bustard’:

1. They are classified as critically endangered in IUCN red list.

2. They are found only in Himalayas

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer