Lesser Florican

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Bengal Florican (Houbaropsis bengalensis)

  • Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List

  • Protected under Schedule I of the
    Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, India.

  • Included on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES),
    making international trade in this species illegal

HABITAT

Open, tall, dry/semi-inundated grasslands with scattered bushes and patches of woodland.

RANGE

2 disjunct populations in the Indian subcontinent(N.India and Nepal) and Southeast Asia(Cambodia).

PHYSICAL FEATURES

  • Adults are 66-68 cm(26-27 in) in length and approximately 55 cm(22 in) tall, females are slightly larger than males.

  • Male has black neck, head and upperparts, with characteristic display plumes.

  • Wing coverts have distinctive white patch, male wings appear almost entirely white in flight.

  • Females are buff-brown in colour, with dark brown crown and streaked neck. They have darker wings, with fine dark barring.

  • Feet and legs in both sexes is yellow.  

FAST FACTS

  • The species is best known for the male’s elaborate courtship displays, which usually occur between March and May

  • Like most bustards, they feed on a wide range of small vertebrates and invertebrates, including worms, centipedes, lizards and insects. They also feed on fruits, seeds and berries.

  • They are normally silent, but produce a chik-chik-chik call upon being disturbed.

  • Bengal floricans have been observed nesting in Kokilabari Agricultural Park, which adjoins the Manas National Park in Assam. This is one of the very few places where it breeds outside Protected Areas

  • As its scientific names suggest, it was originally described in Bengal, but no individuals have been reported from the state since 1990.

POPULATION

Global population estimated to be 350-1,500 individuals, and is fast declining. Less than 100 individuals remain in Nepal.

THREATS

  • Destruction of grasslands for farming, cattle grazing and building habitations.

  • Poor habitat management practices such as large-scale burning or creating plantations.

  • Poaching for meat and egg collection(especially in Southeast Asia)

  • Modification of the hydrological regime in moist grasslands through dam building.

Image courtesy – https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/e3/33/eb/e333eb5620b31a384f05b5bea4717f19.jpg

Download or Get a Print of the Bengal Florican Fact Sheet Here. 

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About Soumya Banerjee

Soumya Banerjee is a 23-year old freelance journalist who likes writing on environmental issues. He aspires to become a forest officer, and is preparing for the Indian Forest Service Examination.

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