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“Black-Necked Crane” named in Assam

What is the News?

Black-necked cranes (Grus nigricollis) have been sighted for the first time in Assam. To celebrate this, the bird was given an Assamese name: “Deu Korchon” (Deu means god and Korchon means crane).

Black Necked Crane:

  • The black-necked crane is endemic to the Tibetan Plateau. It is a medium-sized crane that is mostly grey with a black head and neck with a red crown on the head.

Characteristics:

  • Both the sexes of Black Necked Crane are almost of the same size, but the male is slightly bigger than the female.
  • The juveniles have a brownish head and neck and plumage is slightly paler than that of an adult.

Distribution and Habitat:

  • The largest populations of the bird are in China with smaller numbers extending into Vietnam, Bhutan, and India.
  • The high altitude wetlands in the Tibetan plateau are the main breeding ground of the species.
  • The major wintering breeding grounds are in Tibet, Yunnan and Guizhou (China), and Bhutan. A small wintering population is also found in the Sangti and Zimithang valleys of Arunachal Pradesh.

Significance:

  • The black-necked crane is central to Buddhist mythology and culture. According to a World Wide Fund for Nature(WWF), previous incarnations of the Dalai Lama were carried from monastery to monastery on the backs of these holy birds.
  • The Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir in India considers it as the state bird.

Conservation Status:

  • IUCN Red List: Near Threatened
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I

Threats: The major threats are:

  • Loss and degradation of habitat
  • Wetlands being extensively affected by human activity including irrigation, dam construction, draining, and grazing pressure among others.

Initiatives:

  • Worldwide Fund for Nature-India (WWF-India) in collaboration with the Department of Wildlife Protection, Jammu & Kashmir has been working towards the conservation of high altitude wetlands, with black-necked cranes as a priority species in the Ladakh region.

Source: Indian Express

Conservation of migratory birds

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