Hyderabad: The Great Indian Bustard is amongst the most threatened birds of India. It is embattled in its very habitat that is shrinking alarmingly.
These birds – the bustards – are grassland birds adapted to live in open stretches of sub-humid to semi-arid landscapes. These areas are often fallow and inhabited by a myriad of animals and insects. The predominant plant species are the several species of grasses.
Rodents and insects make a bulk of the biomass here. They are an important species, almost a keystone species in this habitat. Their tunnels and burrows are the main sources of seepage of what moderate to scant rainfall these areas receive. The insects keep the herbage in check while providing food for a myriad of species, especially the harriers that come in with the migration.
The larger animals are the Black Buck, the Chinkara and their main predator the wolf.
Over a period of time these habitats have been severely disturbed and now seem to be killing the Bustards.
Due to multiple sets of adverse changes to their ecosystems, bustards are dying out especially since they are slow breeders.
The only way to revive the wild bustard population is to reverse these adverse while seeking cooperation from European and Middle-Eastern countries where the Great bustard (Europe) and McQueen’s bustard (Middle-East) have been successively bred in captivity and re-wilded.