The first photographic record of a critically endangered Lesser Florican (Sypheotidesindica) female was captured in a camera trap installed in the world-famous Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in Chandrapur district for tiger monitoring. Forestmen noticed the bustard shaped bird picture while sorting the data from the camera trap two days ago.
The Lesser Florican is the smallest in the bustard family and the only member of the genus Sypheotide. It is also known as Tanmor, Likh or Khormore an endemic to the Indian subcontinent. The male lesser florican is famous for its beautiful breeding display that attracts wildlife photographers and unfortunately poachers.
Nandkishore Kale, Deputy Director, TATR, Core, informed The Live Nagpur on Wednesday that this bird was rarely seen and recorded earlier in Nanded, Nashik, Solapur, Akola, and Chandrapur in Maharashtra. He said that field staff members would take necessary steps to protect and converse this bird, which is on the verge of extinction, in the park.
The male florican measures 45 cm in length whereas the female measures 50 cm. The breeding plumage in males is black on the head, neck, and lower parts. The bird is easy to sight during breeding period from July to October. The growth of grass after the onset of monsoon allows the females to hide and breed safely. Lesser florican being omnivorous and (feast on invertebrates like grasshoppers, dung beetles, caterpillars, centipedes, worms, and parts of plants such crop shoots, leaves, herbs, and berries) it is a time when food is plentiful. During the breeding season, the males establish territories and complete to charm potential mates with their aerial display and elegant plumage.
The population status of lesser florican is declining alarmingly and a report published by Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in 2018 affirms that only 264 matured birds remain in the country with an 80 per cent decline in their population since 2000. The bird has been listed in the endangered category of IUCN and CITES Appendix II, Convention on Migratory Species, and also protected under Schedule I in the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.