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Lesser Florican: MP Banishes the Bird Popular for mid- air Romance

There seems to be no place  in  Madhya Pradesh for Lesser Florican or Kharmore (Sypheotides) ,one of the most romantic but endangered birds of the planet . The shy bird, popular for  it's mid-air courtship gestures ,has been rendered almost homeless by the  state government.  The State wildlife Board - headed by the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh- recommended  last month de-notification of 348.12 sq km area of Sardarpur Kharmoresanctuary in Dhar district, home to Kharmore during its breeding period of monsoon till October. The sanctuary will now be shrunk only to about 16 sq km area. As the bird was being banished, ‘esteemed’ members of the Board looked as helpless as the threatened Florican before the powerful politicians. Though the State Wildlife Boards have the primary task to manage the conservation and protection of wildlife at the State Level, it seems to have worked contradictory to  its mandate . There was hardly any voice of dissent from its members who are empowered t

It's Not Cheetah, the Fastest Animal on the Earth is Shaheen

 


If Cheetah is the fastest animal on four legs,  Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrines)  is the fastest bird , faster  than  the spotted  cat  that may soon  be  reintroduced in India, may be in some jungle of Madhya Pradesh also. A survey is on   for the reintroduction of Cheetah in India which  has a recorded speed that varies from 109.4 km per hour  to 120.7 km per hour  . But the stooping Shaheen has a diving speed of about 389 km per hour.Peregrine falcon,the English name of this amazing predator bird may not be common but  Shaheen, the Hindi word for the bird is very popular. The India sub -species of Falco peregrines is known as Falco peregrinus peregrinator or shaheen falcon . It is a non-migratory subspecies of the peregrine falcon found mainly in the Indian subcontinent. In India, Shaheen is spotted almost across the country, mainly in rocky and hilly regions. The Shaheen is also reported from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal.
Shaheen Number Unknown in India
Vultures
Recently Shaheens were  in news after a number of the predator  birds were sighted during the just concluded count of the threatened vultures in Madhya Pradesh. A typical Peregrine Falcon male can weigh somewhere between 750 grams to 1200 grams and is about 16 inch long . Shaheen is the fastest animal on earth while  taking dive and as it executes this dive, the Peregrine falcon soars to a great height, then dives steeply at speeds of over 350 kms per hour pouncing upon  its prey in the air.

Also read: Of Owl Crisis and Sorcerers

Director of Panna national park Uttam Kumar Sharma confirmed that , “  Peregrine falcons can attain this very high speed while  taking its dive”. A good number of Shaheens  were sighted in Panna  tiger reserve  where the  number of endangered vultures has increased from  666  last year to 722 in 2021, maximum in any  other national  park of the state.

Wildlife experts said that Peregrines use a “specific flying technique when hunting  and it is known as stoop.” The stoop is gravity-assisted  and is considered  more a controlled fall . “They fly high above their prey and close their wings  falling like a stone downwards . Their aerodynamic shape helps  attain high velocity speed  stunning  their targets .

However, their normal flight was recorded between 22 and 26 mph.Partners in Flight, is an organization launched in 1990 in response to growing concerns about declines in the populations of many land bird species, estimated  in 2020 the global breeding population to be 140,000 with 17% spending some part of the year in the U.S, 5% in Canada, and 5% in Mexico. Their population in India is unknown.

Banner pic : Shaheen atop a tree. Courtesy Panna National Park 


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