Scientists track flight of the Amur Falcon

Amur Falcons roost in Morigaon district in Assam on Thursday. Photo: Ritu Raj Konwar  

The entire migration route of Amur Falcons — from Nagaland to South Africa on to Mongolia and back to Nagaland — has been scientifically plotted, with scientists confirming that a satellite-tagged Amur Falcon ‘Naga’ has arrived almost a year after it began its journey.

Amur Falcons travel up to 22,000 km a year — known to be one of the longest distances undertaken by migratory birds. The bird Naga was released in Doyang in Wokha district in Nagaland on November 7, 2013, and returned on October 29, 2014.

“This is a historic day for all scientific communities. The tracking gives clear scientific data on the entire migration route of the Amur Falcons,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Head of Forest Force, Nagaland, M. Lokeswara Rao told The Hindu.

In October and November every year, a large number of Amur Falcons arrive in the northeast, especially in Nagaland, from Mongolia en route to South Africa. However, why these migratory birds skip Nagaland on their return flight to Mongolia remains a mystery.

Two other Amur Falcons had set off with Naga. Pangti and Wokha, named after Pangti village and Wokha district respectively, were satellite-tagged and released in Nagaland’s Doyang forest. They reached South Africa on January 9 after flying over Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Bangladesh, the Bay of Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and the Arabian Sea. They started their return journey from South Africa in the third week of April. Mr. Rao said that scientists have also confirmed the presence of Pangti close to Nagaland and it should soon reach Doyang.

However, Wokha continues to be tracked in Somalia, which could either mean that the bird died or its satellite-tracking device got detached from its body.

Conservationist Nick Williams heads the coordinating unit studying migratory birds of prey through a project of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals and the United Nations Environment Programme.

In an email to the Nagaland Forest Department, Mr. Williams said: “The routes they have chosen have illuminated in detail for the first time the incredible journey that they make annually, including such spectacular feats as crossings over the Arabian Sea. It is wonderful to see both Naga and Pangi heading back ‘home’ towards the Falcon Capital of the World. They certainly appear to be aiming to be close-by for the anniversary of the day on which we tagged them.”

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 9:50:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/scientists-track-flight-of-the-amur-falcon/article6561589.ece

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