The number these Bustard-family birds, popularly known as `Kharmore' or `Likh' in Central India, has nosedived by 80 per cent in the last 17 years, a 2017 survey led by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) said.
Every year, the birds migrate to Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat in July, and live there for around four months before flying off elsewhere. They are found only in the Indian subcontinent.
Construction activity, urbanisation and over-grazing of grasslands are destroying the birds' habitats, while predators such as stray dogs and other feral animals also pose a threat as they prey on the birds' eggs, the survey said.
Last year, Lesser floricans were found mostly in Velavadar area in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat and Shokaliya-Bhinia in Ajmer district of Rajasthan, it said.
A national-level conservation program was needed to save these birds from extinction, the report said. Ornithologist Ajay Gadikar, who was the convener of the survey for Madhya Pradesh, said the Lesser floricans are among the 50 most endangered bird species in the world.
The survey was carried out by the WII with the help of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Corbett Foundation and officials of the four states.
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