Status of the Critically Endangered Bengal Florican Houbaropsis bengalensis (Gmelin, 1789) in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, Nepal

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Hem Sagar Baral
Tek Raj Bhatt
Sailendra Raj Giri
Ashok Kumar Ram
Shyam Kumar Shah
Laxman Prasad Poudyal
Dhiraj Chaudhary
Gitanjali Bhattacharya
Rajan Amin


The Bengal Florican is one of the rarest bustard species and is listed ‘Critically Endangered’ by the IUCN.  The species is restricted to the lowland grasslands of India, Nepal, and Cambodia with fewer than 1,000 mature individuals.  To assess the species status in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, Nepal, we repeated our first comprehensive survey conducted during the 2012 breeding season.  In spite of a larger area coverage we recorded only 41 adult Bengal Floricans in 2017 compared to 47 individuals in 2012.  Detectability of this rare species is low in its Imperata-Saccharum grasslands.  We, therefore, used a long pole with black and white clothing to mimic Bengal Florican’s display flight to stimulate male Bengal Florican.  The number of adult males recorded was the same as in the 2012 survey and the adult male density remains one of the highest in the Indian subcontinent. Management recommendations for the long-term conservation of the species in Koshi Tappu include maintenance of Imperata-Saccharum grasslands in the reserve favoured by the Bengal Florican and working with farmers and communities adjacent to the reserve where the birds breed in order to maintain some agricultural lands with vegetation height suitable for the species especially during the species’ breeding season.

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