Amur falcon

Amur-Falcon

Scientific name
  • Falco amurensis
Conservation status
  • IUCN- Least Concern
  • Conservation efforts in Nagaland, India
Introduction
  • Amur Falcon is a small raptor of the falcon family.Its a small, slender, pigeon-sized bird of prey, and is noteworthy for undertaking one of the longest and most arduous annual migrations of any bird of prey
  • It breeds in south-eastern Siberia and Northern China before migrating in large flocks across India and over the Arabian Sea to winter in Southern Africa
  • Males are dark grey with reddish brown thighs and undertail coverts; reddish orange eye-ring, cere, and feet. Females are duller above, with dark scaly markings on white underparts, an orange eye ring, cere, and legs. Only a pale wash of rufous is visible on their thighs and undertail coverts.
  • Their diet consists mainly of insects, such as termites; during migration over the sea, they are thought to feed on migrating dragonflies.
Distribution and migrationcdb43930-421e-11e4-9946-d9608a852b1f_4-Migration-map
  • Amur Falcons are marathon migrants that pass through Nagaland on their migratory course to southern Africa from Far East Russia.
  • They migrate in a broad front through India then over the Arabian Sea to reach southern Africa.
  • Birds going over India are thought to be aided by strong winds blowing westward. These winds are strong at an altitude of about 3000m and the birds are thought to fly at a height of above 1000m during migration.
  • The breeding season is May to June and several pairs may nest close together. Abandoned nest platforms belonging to birds of prey or corvids and even tree hollows are re-used for nesting.

Status and conservation

  • The wide breeding range and large population size of the Amur falcon have led to the species being assessed as being of least concern.
  • The flocking behaviour during migration and the density at which they occur, however, expose them to hunting and other threats. During their migration from their breeding area to the winter quarters, they are plump and are hunted for food in parts of northeastern India as well as in eastern Africa.
Currently in news
  • Doyang is a rockfill dam and hydroelectric plant on the Doyang River, a tributary of Brahmaputra, 30 km from Wokha town in Nagaland run by the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO).
  • It is here that one of the largest congregations of birds anywhere in the world takes place every October during the Amur Falcon migration.
  • The falcons descend to forested patches along the banks of the Doyang reservoir to roost at night.
  • Earlier,Naga tribesmen used to hunt thousands of Amur falcons for meat. Hunters used to ruthlessly exploit this and set-up huge fishing nets all over the roosting .The birds used to get caught in the nets in large numbers. The hunters would come every morning to remove the trapped birds. Trapped birds were sold locally or sent to markets.
  • After the 2012 season, several conservation initiatives were initiated to save the falcons the following year (and beyond). One of them is the ‘Friends of the Amur Falcon’ campaign which kicked off the “training the trainer” workshop to prepare participants to help educate children in the villages through Eco Clubs
  • The Environment Minister announced that the Centre will soon develop the Doyang Lake area as an eco-tourism spot for bird-watchers across the world to have a wonderful and rare sight of Amur Falcons
  • The world has recognized Pangti village in Nagaland as the world’s Amur Falcon capital, as more than one million birds can be seen in just 30 minutes. It is a very rare sight
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