Thursday, May 14

Bengal florican

   ›      ›   Bengal florican - Houbaropsis bengalensis.

The Bengal florican (Houbaropsis bengalensis) belongs to the bustard family Otididae.
The Bengal florican species is distributed in Indian Subcontinent and in a few locations in Southeast Asia.

Taxonomy of Bengal florican

  • Scientific Name: Houbaropsis bengalensis
  • Common Name: Bengal florican
  • French: Outarde du Bengale; German: Barttrappe; Spanish: Sisón bengalí;
  • Other names: Otis bengalensis J. F. Gmelin, 1789; Bengal bustard; Eupodotis bengalensis Sibley and Monroe;
  • Family: Otididae › Gruiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: (Gmelin, 1789)
Houbaropsis bengalensis was earlier included in genus Eupodotis. The two recognized subspecies are: H. b. bengalensis (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) and H. b. blandini Delacour, 1928.

Description

The Bengal florican female is larger than the male. The male bird measures 65 cm in length and weighs 1,200 to 1,700 grams. The female florican measures 70 cm in length and weighs 1,700 to 2,200 grams. The male has blackish plumage over the head, neck, back and under parts. The wings are largely white. In flight the wings appear entirely white except for black tips.

Male florican has spatulate-tipped head plumes and white collar across upper mantle. Female and immature floricans are buff-brown. The legs and feet are yellow. The males make croaking sounds during display and shrill metallic chik-chik-chik call when disturbed.
Indian birds - Image of Bengal florican - Houbaropsis bengalensis
Indian birds - Image of Bengal florican - Houbaropsis bengalensis


Habitat

The Bengal floricans inhabit open tall grassland habitats with scattered bushes.

Feeding habits

The Bengal florican birds are omnivorous and feed on seeds, berries, plant matter, insects, other invertebrates and small vertebrates.

Breeding

The breeding season of these florican birds is from March to August and males make stunning courtship display. The clutch may contain one or two eggs. The female florican incubates the eggs and raises the chicks.

Distribution

The subspecies H. b. bengalensis is distributed in Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in India and Nepal. The subspecies H. b. blandini is distributed in Cambodia and may be extant in southern Vietnam.

Movement Patterns

Most of the Bengal florican population in Indian subcontinent is resident. The florican population in Cambodia is known to make relatively local seasonal movements in response to the flooding.

Status and conservation

A very rapid decline in the global population of Bengal florican is estimated to have occurred over the last three generations and the total global population may be 350-1,500 individual birds. The major threats to conservation of these florican species are habitat loss through modification of grasslands, agriculture and plantation activities, overgrazing, inappropriate cutting, burning of grasslands, heavy flooding and dam construction.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these florican species and has listed them as "Critically Endangered".

Biological classification of Houbaropsis bengalensis
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Gruiformes
Family:Otididae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Houbaropsis
Species:H. bengalensis
Binomial name:Houbaropsis bengalensis
Distribution:Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia;
Feeding habits:large insects, seeds, berries, small vertebrates;
IUCN status listing:
Critically Endangered

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Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BengalFlorican.jpg
Image Author: Richard Lydekker | Image License: Public domain
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