Photo credit: Allan Michaud
The Bengal Florican, Houbaropsis bengalensis, is listed as ‘CRITICALLY ENDANGERED’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. It is found in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia including Cambodia and southern Vietnam. During courtship the black-bodied male makes deep humming sounds while it leaps into the air, showing off its snow-white wings.
The Bengal Florican is primarily threatened by the loss and alteration of its grassland habitat. In the subcontinent it occurs almost exclusively in reserves, but the numbers are very small. In Cambodia, the grasslands around the Tonle Sap are rapidly being converted into rice monocultures. In Vietnam, it is already believed to have disappeared. Excessive hunting for sport and food (particularly in Cambodia) has also played a part in the decline of this rare bird and remains a serious threat.
The national parks and wildlife reserves of India and Nepal have had some success in slowing the decline in Bengal Florican numbers, but its populations there are dwindling and more management of its grasslands is needed. Work in Cambodia is focused on establishing small grassland reserves where modern rice-growing is prohibited.
To learn more about the Bengal Florican, click here. Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.
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