Great Indian Bustards

OCT 22

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

Why in news?

  • The recent sighting of three Great Indian Bustards (GIBs) deep in Pakistan’s Cholistan desert has given rise to speculation that the GIB might have flown across the international border from India’s Desert National Park(DNP).

About Great Indian Bustards:

  • 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 Great Indian Bustards

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

2. They are found only in Himalayas

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer