Rann Diaries - LRK special

Here are the Gujarat diaries update so far...

I would be presenting some photo blogs of some individual species interspersed with my Rann diaries travelogues to highlight their importance and beauty.

First on the list is the Globally threatened Macqueen’s Bustard (Chlamydotis macqueenii) formerly treated as con-specific with Houbara Bustard. Bustard’s are primarily land birds and are low distance flyers and their population in total has decreased drastically owing to hunting and habitat destruction. The Great Indian Bustard (one of our pride species) is almost on the verge of disappearing owing to its habitat loss and pity it doesn’t receive as much attention as the Tiger.

They breed in deserts and other very arid sandy areas. Measuring 60cms long with a wingspan of 140cms, it’s a pretty big bird when seen in the field but very elusive and shy. Interestingly Macqueen’s Bustard is vocally almost silent. They typically lay 2-4 eggs on the ground and are omnivorous in diet.

I had to spend close to two hours in getting a good view of this species in the vast grassland, it being very elusive and shy. Small sounds from our end and it would disappear into the dry grass, typically sitting down amidst the tally dry grass and often putting its head up to observe the surroundings.

Finally, after persuasive tactics, and patience, got to see the bustard at viewing distance, probably once it got used to our presence in the area. But, in doing that, I had covered the entire grassland on foot, crawling, kneeling and running to catch a glimpse of it!

All episodes from Velavadar Diaries here...