|Scientific Name:||Sypheotides indicus|
|Species Authority:||(Miller, 1782)|
|Taxonomic Notes:||Gender agreement of species name follows David and Gosselin (2002b).|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Endangered A3cd+4cd ver 3.1|
|Reviewer/s:||Butchart, S. & Symes, A.|
|Contributor/s:||Baral, H., Dutta, S., Inskipp, C., Jhala, Y. & Patil, P.|
This species qualifies as Endangered because its very small and rapidly declining population is predicted to undergo a very rapid decline in the near future as pressure on remaining grasslands intensifies, and areas of its habitat are lost and degraded.
Sypheotides indicus breeds in India in Gujarat, south-east Rajasthan, north-west Maharashtra (25-30 breeding pairs in Akola District [P. Patil in litt. 2012]) and western Madhya Pradesh, with some dispersal to south-east India in the non-breeding season. It is a rare summer visitor to the terai of Nepal, and was formerly recorded more frequently, but may have only been an non-breeding visitor, dependent on monsoon rains (C. Inskipp and H. S. Baral in litt. 2012). Formerly widespread and common, it has been declining since at least the 1870s. From 1982-1989, its population declined by nearly 60% (4,374-1,672 birds). However, by 1994, it had increased by 32% to 2,206 birds. These population fluctuations are directly correlated with breeding season rainfall patterns, indicating that it is susceptible to extinction in the event of severe, prolonged drought. A survey conducted in August 2010 (coinciding with a peak in male displays) in north-western India (Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh) (Bhardwaj et al. 2011), which followed methodology similar to that of a survey in 1999 (Sankaran 2000), recorded a decline of 65% in the sightings of S. indicus since 1999. A total of 84 birds (including one female) were recorded during the 2010 survey, down from 238 in 1999. The species was recorded in only 24 of the 91 grasslands surveyed, compared to its presence in 37 grasslands in 1999 (Bhardwaj et al. 2011). However, it has been indicated that the methodology of the 2010 surveys may not be comparable with that of the 1999 surveys (S. Dutta and Y. Jhala in litt. 2012). It is also possible that the 2010 survey results were affected by severe drought conditions that occurred in many parts of India in 2009, when the monsoon rains were delayed, and it is unclear whether the 2010 data indicate a genuine reduction in the population, or movement to other areas.
Native:India; Nepal; Pakistan
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||The species's population was estimated at c.2,200 birds in the mid-1990s (Sankaran 1994b, 1995c), and based on this the number of mature individuals is put at c.1,500.|
|Habitat and Ecology:||It occurs in productive dry grasslands, in lowland areas (below 250 m), particularly dominated by Sehima nervosum and Chrysopogon fulvus, with scattered bushes and scrub. It has also been recorded in cotton and millet crops. Non-breeding season movements are poorly understood.|
Severe hunting pressure, particularly of males for sport and also food, precipitated its decline. More recently, declines have been caused by rapid reductions in the area of grassland owing to conversion to agriculture and overgrazing. In addition, the rapid spread of the non-native Prosopis glandulosa threatens habitat quality. Over the last two decades, unreliable monsoon rains have caused significant population fluctuations. In Nepal, the species suffers from disturbance and insufficient protection resulting in overgrazing and subsequent grassland degradation (C. Inskipp and H. S. Baral in litt. 2012). It is also seriously threatened by inappropriate management, such as ploughing in protected areas, leading to a loss of suitable habitat. Pressure on lowland grasslands in Nepal continues to increase. In addition, the invasive plant Mikania micrantha has had serious impacts on Chitwan National Park and Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve. The species also continues to be threatened by hunting in Nepal (C. Inskipp and H. S. Baral in litt. 2012).
Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. In 1983, Rajasthan declared a ban on hunting this species, effective for 10 years, and local people were employed in a scheme to prevent hunting in Madhya Pradesh. In Nepal, the species is protected at the national level (C. Inskipp and H. S. Baral in litt. 2012). In 1994, a conservation strategy was published, which proposed management recommendations for fodder-producing grasslands and increased protection for natural grasslands. In 1996, several sites in Rajasthan were identified for intensive conservation action. Two Lesser Florican sanctuaries exist: Sailana and Sardarpur, both in Madhya Pradesh (Rahmani 2006). The species occurs in a number of other protected areas. In Maharashtra, a local NGO, Samvedana, has worked to involve local poachers in conservation actions for the protection of the species and its habitats (P. Patil in litt. 2012).
Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor population size and trends. Map and delimit remaining grassland habitats supporting populations for establishment as protected areas with sustainable grassland management regimes (Sankaran 2006). Implement proposals to ensure sustainable use of a network of fodder-producing grasslands (Sankaran 2006, Anon. 2009, P. Patil in litt. 2012). Promote local participation in grassland restoration and continue to employ local people as guardians of floricans and their habitats. Implement 'Project Bustards', the conservation strategy for Indian bustards. Work with local communities to develop and implement favourable grassland management practices, such delayed grass-cutting or leaving areas uncut (P. Patil in litt. 2012).
|Citation:||BirdLife International 2012. Sypheotides indicus. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 26 May 2013.|
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