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Extinction watch: The great Indian bustard species may vanish & why

Scientific classification: Ardeotis nigriceps The Great Indian Bustard is one of the heaviest fl ying birds in the world. Both males and females are roughly the same size with the larger birds, weighing as much as 15 kgs. Only the colour of the feathers distinguish the two sexes.

Known as a friend of the farmer, once the birds were found in 16 states of India. Now it is found only in Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Depending on what’s available, the bustard will eat worms, small mammals and small reptiles. Locusts, crickets and beetles make the bulk of its diet in the monsoon.

In 1994, the Great Indian Bustard was listed as an endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

By 2011, however, the population decline was so severe that the IUCN reclassifi ed the species as critically endangered. An estimated 50 to 250 mature birds remain.

Flying into power transmission lines and windmills is a major factor behind the bustard’s decline. The good news is that nine GIB eggs collected from a conservation centre in Jaisalmer last year have hatched, and the chicks are reported to be doing well. This is the largest number of hatchings reported within a sixmonth frame by any GIB conservation programme in the world, say officials.

Britannica, Media reports

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