Now, digital eye to study their breeding behaviour of vanishing floricans

(TIP) Madhya Pradesh forest department has taken up digital route to protect critically endangered Lesser Florican birds. It has installed solar powered cameras at Sailana Wildlife Sanctuary to record round the clock movement of the birds for the next four months.

The first of its kind exercise will help the department to study the breeding behaviour of the bird and prepare a plan for their habitat development. Lesser Floricans are one of four critically endangered bird species in India and one of the 50 rarest birds of the world. Locally known as Likh and Kharmore, they migrate to Madhya Pradesh every year for breeding. Environmentalists the world over are expressing concerns over the continuous decline in the number of the birds.

The number of the birds migrating to the state too has come down by 26% this season compared to the previous year. Chief conservator of forest (CCF) P C Dubey said that till date, no scientific documentation of breeding behaviour of the birds is done.

“It will be the first in-camera study of the birds during which a systematic study of their breeding behaviour including egg laying, hatching, duration for which the hatchlings stay here and the last migratory flight of birds etc will be done,” he said. The study will focus on little-known behaviour of the female birds. “It is believed that the male birds fly back early in October while females stay here till November- December.

They fly back when the hatchlings grow big enough to fly. However, there is no documental proof of this behaviour. Based on the findings of the study, we will chalk out plans including restriction of human movement inside the sanctuary, to protect the habitat,” said Dubey. Ornithologist Ajay Gadikar, who is associated with the study, said two high definition (HD) cameras with zoom and other features have been already installed.

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“The study will offer detailed knowledge about diet of the birds, frequency of their jumps and behaviour of the female birds which is a mystery,” he added.

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