Amur Falcons arrive in Longleng enroute Africa
Dimapur, October 15
Far from the glamour and media attention that Doyang’s forested areas get since flying into spotlight two years ago, there is a village community in Nagaland that has been working for wildlife and forest conservation without assistance, help, or media attention.
A small community in Longleng district has been doing its bit in ensuring that visiting Amur Falcons do not become food or an economic tool. The area in question is in Longleng district where the aerial predators have flown into the welcoming arms of wildlife lovers and local communities who know what their value is.
A batch of Amur Falcons has arrived in Longleng district, in Yaongyimchen Community Bio-Diversity Conservation Area on October 12. The district’s administration informed this in a press release on Wednesday. The administration said that the information is based on reports received from the convener of a local committee working for conservation of wildlife and forest in Yaongyimchen village and adjoining areas.
Yaongyimchen Community Bio-Diversity Conservation Area was initiated in the year 2010 by the villagers of Yaongyimchen, Alayong and Sanglu, of the district. “It is reported that Amur Falcon has been roosting in this conservation area and nearby areas since 2010. With the active initiatives of Shri. Y. Nuklu Phom, Executive Secretary, Phom Baptist Church Association and Convenor, LENSACHENLOK, the committee have been working tirelessly without sponsors from any source for protection of Amur falcon in this area,” the administration has said.
According to the district’s administration, volunteers of this conservation area have been engaged in routine duty around roosting sites in Yaongyimchen Community Bio-Diversity Conservation Area. They photographed and reported the arrival of Amur Falcon on October 12, the administration said.
“The District Administration, Longleng have issued order to all village council for protection of Amur falcon in line with the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972. Further, strict actions in the form of withholding VDB funds for defaulter village have been issued,” the administration’s press release stated.
“The district administration, Longleng while informing about the arrival of the falcons, welcome any individuals, tourists to visit the roosting site,” it added.
The press release was appended by Y Denngan Avennoho Phom, deputy commissioner of the district.
About the Amur Falcon
The Amur falcon (Falco amurensis) is a small raptor of the falcon family. 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.
It was earlier treated as a subspecies of the red-footed falcon (Falco vespertinus) and known as the eastern red-footed falcon. Males are dark grey with reddish brown thighs and under-tail 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 and during migration over the sea. They are thought to feed on migrating dragonflies. The route that they take from Africa back to their breeding grounds is as yet unclear.
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 behavior 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.
In 2012, mass trapping and capture of migrating Amur falcons in Nagaland (India) was reported in the media and a successful campaign was begun to prevent their killing. As part of this campaign, three birds were fitted with 5 gm satellite transmitters that allowed them to be tracked during their migration.