The critically endangered lesser florican, with a population of around 600, is native to the Indian subcontinent. A recent scientific study used satellite telemetry to track two birds and gain insights into their migration routes and habitat choices between Gujarat and Maharashtra.
The study, titled “Unravelling the secrets of lesser florican: a study of their home range and habitat use in Gujarat, India,” was conducted by the Wildlife Division of the Gujarat Forest Department and The Corbett Foundation. The satellite-tagged birds were tracked as they traveled from Gujarat to Maharashtra.
One of the birds, named LFM9, migrated approximately 25 km southwards from Ratanpur village in Gujarat to Golrama village in Bhavnagar district. It continued its journey in shorter distance segments, using stopovers in several villages in Gujarat and Maharashtra. LFM9 eventually settled in croplands near Gadaria village in Valsad district of Maharashtra.
The other bird, named LFM10, exhibited nomadic behavior during migration. It crossed the Gulf of Cambay and entered Nashik district in Maharashtra after covering a distance of around 260 km in a single day.
During their migration, both birds flew at different elevations and covered varying distances per day, depending on the availability of food and the type of habitats they flew over. In one month, LFM9 covered a maximum distance of 2,029 km, while LFM10 covered 3,505 km.
These findings highlight the importance of satellite tagging more lesser floricans to gather in-depth information about their lives and ultimately develop long-term conservation strategies. The study emphasizes the urgent need to protect these birds from habitat loss, anthropogenic disturbances, and power line collisions, among other threats.
By understanding the migration routes and habitat choices of the lesser florican, wildlife professionals can take proactive measures to ensure the survival of this endangered species. Timely action and conservation efforts are crucial to prevent the lesser florican from facing a similar precarious situation as the Great Indian Bustard.