Amur falcons: A conservation success story of India

Amur falcon is a migratory raptor that visits India .With an average length of 30-36cm, females generally weigh more than males in this species. Adult male is dark grey. The Amur falcon has dark brown eyes with orange-red eyering. It has short bare legs with orange-red feet. Tail and feathers show broad dark tips .Cheeks and throat are plain white .It has a buff underparts. India takes pride in having a successful conservation story with this species, apart from being home to 18% raptor species from the world.

The Amur falcon feeds mainly on insects, including grasshoppers, and flying termites. Hunting habits of falcons take place throughout the day. Amur falcons are usually found in flocks, numbering into the hundreds to thousands. The nest may be built in a tree hole. Three to six eggs are laid during the period of 28 to 30 days. Both the male and female help incubate and feed the chicks. The amur falcon typically inhabits open woodland. In winter it may be found in savanna and grassland.

The Amur falcon has a wide distribution across Asia, eastern Siberia, northeast Mongolia, North Korea, northern and eastern china. The entire population of Amur falcons leaves the breeding area in Asia from august to September. This species may also breed in northeast India. During migration, the Amur falcon may pass through parts of India, East Africa, and the Arabian peninsula. The birds stop off in India and Bangladesh for several weeks. The birds disappear from India and reappear in East Africa to Asia, which takes place between February and March.

During migration, the Amur falcon falls in northeast India, mainly in Nagaland. It led to a lot of hues and cry all over the world which led to conservation projects because of which we know a lot about these strong fliers . In millions they come to visit starting mid-October till early November. Apart from Nagaland, these birds visit parts of Manipur and Assam. To conserve these birds, some of the birds were captured using satellite tracking and the entire cycle of migrations monitored closely. Pangti village in Nagaland has now become the world’s amur falcon capital.