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Birds dancing in the air have captured hearts with their beauty and arouse a sense of inspiration by spreading their wings and soaring high. Birds conquer the sky teaching everyone that there is no limit to what can be achieved. There are more than 10,000 species of birds, belonging to the class of Aves, flying high in the sky. One of them is the Bengal florican, Houbaropsis bengalensis.
Bengal floricans are a species of little bustards found to have two disjunct populations in tall grassland habitats of Nepal and India, respectively. The endangered bird, Bengal florican, is speculated to be the rarest species of bustard. The species is listed to be Critically Endangered under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species with less than 1,000 birds recorded to be alive. The population is at risk due to various factors such as habitat loss and human activities such as hunting. The remaining distribution of the bird is protected in few pockets of India, Nepal, Cambodia, and Vietnam. It is restricted to the protected areas such as national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, ensuring the stability of its population and preventing the risk of extinction. Moreover, various national and international institutes are working to ensure the protection of the threatened species of bird.
A Bengal florican is the only member of the genus Houbaropsis. Often said to be the 'king of the wet grasslands', the bird is known for its solitary regal appearance. The Bengal florican display is a capricious aerial with pretty distinctive features between the sexes.
The Bengal florican, Houbaropsis bengalensis, is a small species of the bustard. Thus, it is also called a Bengal bustard. It has two disjunct populations: Houbaropsis bengalensis bengalensis, living in the Terai region of the Indian subcontinent, and Houbaropsis bengalensis blandini, seasonally flooding the Tonle Sap region in Cambodia.
The Bengal florican, Houbaropsis bengalensis, belongs to the class Aves. It is the only member of the genus Houbaropsis. It is a species of little bustard.
There are less than 1,000 species of Bengal floricans documented around the world. The population of the birds is divided into different fragments – one in the Indian subcontinent and the other in Cambodia. The population is threatened and is tagged as a Critically Endangered species. There are various international conservation management authorities working for protecting and contributing to the threatened birds.
Natively, the two subspecies of Bengal florican (Houbaropsis bengalensis) – Houbaropsis bengalensis bengalensis and Houbaropsis bengalensis blandini – inhabit grasslands of the Indian subcontinent and Cambodia, respectively. More precisely, the Bengal florican lives in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh in India, Terai range in Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam, and towards South Asia. During the breeding season, the males reside in the traditional display territories and migrate to wintering grounds in their non-breeding season. With declining survival rate and decreasing population number due to threats such as habitat loss and several hunting activities, the population of the birds is reserved in protected areas established by the government including the international and national parks and sanctuaries. For instance, to ensure the protection of distribution of populations, the species are preserved in national parks and sanctuaries such as Pilibhit National Park (Uttar Pradesh), Dudwa National Park (Uttar Pradesh), Kaziranga National Park (Assam), Burachapori Wildlife Sanctuary (Assam), D’Ering Wildlife Sanctuary (Arunachal Pradesh) and Gorumara Wildlife Sanctuary (West Bengal). in India. Also, Shuklaphanta Reserve, Bardia National Park, Chitwan National Park, Koshi Tappu Reserve, and Koshi Barrage area in Nepal are some of the protected regions highlighted on the Bengal florican range map.
The Bengal florican's native habitat is grasslands. While the females and males species inhabit the breeding grounds, there is a movement speculated on and off the wintering grounds between the breeding and non-breeding season. The adult male birds migrate away from wet grasslands during the non-breeding season, though the migration is not long distance. The adult males and females move to warmer lowlands during the winter or when their native habitats are flooded. Their movement is also recorded by the satellite. Satellite telemetry and remote sensing help access the distribution, movements, and survival range of the Bengal florican (Houbaropsis bengalensis) to ensure its conservation and management around the world.
The Bengal floricans lead a solitary life, except for the courtship display. Also, the search highlighted that the species of the birds are territorial and stays hidden behind the tall grass in the riverine and wet grassland. The adult male and female birds are said to live in a society or pair during the breeding season. Furthermore, the males often display in a group or society comprising up to seven individuals from March to May.
While the lifespan of the Bengal florican remains undeciphered, a pink cockatoo is said to live for the longest number of years, more than 80 years.
While there are various speculations made, there is no exact information stating the reproduction mechanism in the species of Bengal floricans. The search highlighted that adult male species show off white and black plumage during their short arching display flights with fluffed up neck feathers and a head pumping action to attract its mate. The information collected by the satellite installed by the government to track conservation and population of the species, habitats, and survival rate, lacks to highlight that species mate in tall grass and appear out in low-grasslands during the non-breeding season.
The Bengal florican conservation status is tagged as Critically Endangered under the IUCN Red List of Threatened species. While habitat loss and hunting are the main threats to the species, to ensure the survival of the species, the birds are kept to reside in protected areas rather than their native habitat, the grassland of India, Nepal, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The recorded conservation status and trends portray the species to be at risk of extinction. The protected areas ensure favorable habitats (grasslands with healthy grass) and protection of the floricans. Furthermore, the protected areas are an initiative taken to stabilize the conservation trend and status.
The Bengal floricans are dimorphic. While males are black and white plumage with buff-brown upperside, the female is larger with a dark brown crown. Also, the legs and feet are yellow while the bill and irides are comparatively darker. On the other hand, the juveniles are often mistaken with lesser floricans.
The black-white birds with brown upperside are adorable-looking species.
While the exact communication mechanism remains poorly studied, the Bengal florican is speculated to communicate via gestures and calls which sound like a metallic 'chik-chik-chik'.
While the length of the Bengal florican ranges between 26-27 in (66-68 cm), it is 22 in (55 cm) tall.
A Bengal florican prefers to stay on land but is a capable flier. Though the speed of the Bengal florican remains, undeciphered, the peregrine falcon is said to be the fastest flying bird.
The Bengal florican weighs up to 2.6-4.2 lb (1.2-1.9 kg), i.e. 10 times less than a kori bustard.
While a female is called a hen, a male is known as a rooster.
A baby Bengal florican is often called a nestling, fledging, hatchling, or chick.
The Bengal florican diet comprises seeds, fruits, flowers, and insects like lizards, beetles, and also snakes.
No, the Bengal florican is not said to be poisonous.
The Bengal floricans are wild birds, better kept free.
The conservation status of the Bengal florican is tagged as Critically Endangered. There are various initiatives being taken to ensure stabilizing its population.
The biological name of Bengal florican is Houbaropsis bengalensis.
The specific distribution of Bengal florican is located in West Bengal, India. Though, the Bengal florican is quite common around Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.
The Bengal florican is a large grassland bird ranging from India to Cambodia.
No, the Bengal florican is also recorded in Nepal, Cambodia, and Vietnam. India may be considered the native location of one of its subspecies, i.e. Houbaropsis bengalensis bengalensis.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these reddish egret facts and Australian pelican facts for kids.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable bengal florican coloring pages.
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