Lesser florican

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The lesser florican (Sypheotides indicus) belongs to the bustard family Otididae. The lesser florican species is endemic to the Indian Subcontinent.

Taxonomy of Lesser florican

  • Scientific Name: Sypheotides indicus
  • Common Name: Lesser florican
  • French: Outarde passarage; German: Flaggentrappe; Spanish: Sisón de penacho;
  • Other names: Likh; Khar-mor; Otis indica J. F. Miller, 1782; Sypheotis aurita;
  • Family: Otididae › Gruiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: (Miller, 1782)
Sypheotides indicus was earlier included in the genera, Otis, Eupodotis and Sypheotis.

Indian birds - Image of Lesser florican - Sypheotides indicus
Indian birds - Image of Lesser florican - Sypheotides indicus


The lesser florican is a smaller bustard and the female is larger than the male. The male florican measures 45 cm in length, whereas the female measures 50 cm. The male bird weighs about 450 grams. The breeding plumage in male is black on the head, neck and lower parts. The throat is white. Three to six, long upcurved spatulate black plumes about 8-10 cm long arise from behind the ear-coverts on each side of the head. The wing coverts are white and back and scapulars are mottled in white with V shaped marks. The florican females and males in non breeding plumage are buff with black streaks with darker markings on the head and neck. The legs and iris are yellow.


These florican species inhabit grasslands but also occurs in adjacent agricultural fields.

Feeding habits

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


The breeding season of these florican birds is from July to September, during the southwest monsoon in north India and April to May in parts of southern India. The male lesser florican leaps suddenly from the grass with a peculiar croaking or knocking call as a courtship display. The female makes whistling sounds to attract males. They nest is constructed on the ground. The female florican incubates and rears the chicks.


Breeding population of lesser florican are observed in Gujarat, south-east Rajasthan and north-west Maharashtra in India. In the non breeding season they disperse to south-east India.

Movement Patterns

During the breeding season these florican species occur in west and northwest India. The non-breeding population moves to southeast India.

Status and conservation

The population of lesser florican was estimated at 2,200 birds. There is sharp decline in the population due to habitat loss and habitat conversion into agricultural fields. There is also severe hunting pressure and displaying male birds become a easy prey to poachers.

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

Biological classification of Sypheotides indicus
Species:S. indicus
Binomial name:Sypheotides indicus
Distribution:endemic to the Indian Subcontinent;
Feeding habits:small vertebrates, invertebrates, shoots, seeds, herbs and berries;
IUCN status listing:

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