Raptors observed (1983–2016) in National Chambal Gharial Sanctuary: semi-arid biogeographic region suggestions for parametric studies on ecological continuity in Khathiar-Gir Ecoregion, India

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L.A.K. Singh
R.K. Sharma
Udayan Rao Pawar


The birds of prey or raptors in the National Chambal Sanctuary (NCS) assume importance as they are among the top predators of the region, predating on small crocodilians, turtles, and birds. Our checklist of 30 species of raptors is developed from observations made during winter surveys conducted between 1983 and 2016. The study area covered the course of river Chambal including its confluence with river Kuno that leads from Palpur-Kuno Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh. The raptors which use the steep and inaccessible mud cliffs of the Chambal landscape include Bonelli’s Eagle Aquila fasciata, Laggar Falcon Falco jugger, Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus, White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis, Spotted Owlet Athene brama, and the Indian Eagle-Owl or Rock Eagle Owl Bubo bengalensis. Most of the other raptors noted in NCS appear to visit from and around the adjoining wildlife areas of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. According to two methods of classification the study comes in the semi-arid biogeographic zone or Khathiar-Gir dry deciduous forest ecoregion. The list of raptors from NCS-Kuno has been compared with previous reports and the list available for Sariska Tiger Reserve and Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan. The present work is the outcome of a long-term ecological monitoring that primarily focused on the Gharial Gavialis gangeticus and its ecological associates in water and the riverine shores. The birds of prey demanded time and attention for looking above and away from the water surface or the shorelines. Yet, our meticulous records maintained over 34 years have generated a basal profile that is expected to inspire focused studies on parameters that sustain ecological association of raptors of NCS adjoining forest habitats and wildlife sanctuaries in the ecoregion.

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