Thursday, Oct 30, 2014

Nagaland to S Africa in 2 months: The flight of the Amur falcon

Three falcons were satellite-tagged. (IE Photo) Three falcons were satellite-tagged. (IE Photo)
Written by Samudra Gupta Kashyap | Guwahati | Posted: January 15, 2014 3:46 am | Updated: January 15, 2014 8:47 am

How long does a bird take to fly from Nagaland to South Africa? If it is an Amur falcon, it may take two months, including a three-and-a-half-day non-stop flight across the Arabian Sea, as scientists have found out after tagging three of the species.

The three Amur falcons were among the thousands of migratory birds which arrived in Nagaland in September-end last year. They were satellite-tagged be0ore they took off on their long journey to South Africa.

“We had satellite-tagged three of them and named them Naga, Wokha and Pangti (the last a female) on November 9. With the help of satellites, we tracked them as they flew across Bangladesh, India and finally across the Arabian Sea to reach Africa in one month. For the next four weeks, they flew slowly southwards from Somalia to Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, till they reached South Africa on January 9,” said Nagaland Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) M Lokeswara Rao from Kohima.

He said the male bird named Naga flew over Senapati and Churachandpur (Manipur) to Aizawl (Mizoram), entered Bangladesh, Bay of Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa, after which it flew non-stop across the Arabian Sea to reach the Coast of Somalia on November 20. “It then stayed at the Tsavo National Park in Kenya for a few days, before crossing to Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Botswana to finally enter South Africa on January 9,” he said.

Similarly, the female bird named Pangti flew over Silchar (Assam), Agartala (Tripura), Bangladesh, Sundarbans, Bay of Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra before crossing the Arabian Sea. It then crossed the Coast of Somalia, entered Kenya and rested at the Tsavo National Park for a few days before flying across Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana to enter South Africa.

The third falcon, Wokha, flew over Silchar (Assam), Chittagong (Bangladesh), Bay of Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa before crossing the Arabian Sea to reach Somalia through the Gulf of Aden.

“It is indeed heartening that the three Amur falcons that were satellite-tagged and released in the Doyang forests in Nagaland have flown such a distance safely,” said Rao. While there were reports of largescale killing of these birds earlier, not a single killing has been reported this year, said Rao.

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