- Aditya Singh
Great Indian Bustard – when will this madness stop?
I came across this news on one of the local news papers (The Hindu dated 18April, 2021) here & felt compelled to write this post:
I have never see this bird myself, therefore, not posting any pictures. Those interested may google ‘Great Indian Bustard’ for pictures on the net. At this moment, it suffices to say that this bird stands at the brink of extinction from the face of earth. The news article above says ‘fewer than 100’ remain and we still continue to have these senseless poaching incidents. This needs to stop immediately. There are some names in the article above. Not sure what motivates such behavior. In the picture above, a pair has been shot.
From what I know and have read about this bird: Standing up to four feet tall, with its black crown and necklace, this bird is truly the king of the desert. With colors to blend into its desert scrub and grassland habitat, it is mainly brown above with a long white neck and underside. The lady bustard stands slightly shorter and wears her own slightly smaller crown.
The bustard family are the heaviest flying birds in the world. In the heavy-weight category, our bird gets to stand on the podium. It takes four years for them to reach maturity.
Since I don’t have first-hand experience with this bird, still I can say this bird is as well adapted to its habitat like fish to water. They are locally migratory, moving between different places in search of food and potential partners. And they cover a fairly large area while doing so. In its display dance, it is said to ruffle up its feathers somewhat like the Ruff, fan up their tails and make a loud call.
With less than a hundred remaining, this bird is not just threatened, it is Critically Endangered! Needless to say, they are already extinct in many of their former territories.
The main threats to this bird in recent years have been diminishing grasslands, collision with high tension wires, windmills and now hunting. The birds mentioned in the article that were hunted were killed during their breeding season. I wonder if they had eggs or chicks.