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Radio-tagged falcon ‘Longleng’ returns to India after winter sojourn

By Our Correspondent Updated: Apr 24, 2020 10:43 pm
Longleng’s flight route

Our Correspondent

Imphal, April 24 (EMN): Amid the Covid-19 pandemic across the globe, a radio-tagged female Amur falcon, which flew non-stop for five days covering thousands of kilometres to reach Somalia in November last year, has returned to the Indian sub-continent on her way to her breeding area in northern China, a Wildlife Institute of India (WII) official said on Friday.

WII scientist R Suresh Kumar, who is currently monitoring the route of the migratory bird, said that he  received a location that the bird yet again arrived (in India) towards Mumbai and it made the crossing over to land about 60 km north of Mumbai on Thursday afternoon. The bird’s trajectory tells that she is heading to Maharashtra coast and from there she may go down to southern India-most likely heading towards Bangalore, he added.

Longleng, a female Amur falcon named after Nagaland’s district was radio-tagged and arrived in Somalia on April 17 from her winter sojourn in South Africa and started her five-day return passage to India on April 20 flying at a speed of 45 km per hour, the WII scientist said.

The bird was radio-tagged in October 2016 as part of projects to study the flight route of these long-distance migratory birds and environmental patterns along the route.

The smart small raptor weighing around 175 grams, depending upon the weather condition is likely to fly across Nagaland and Manipur for her onward journey to China via Myanmar soon, Kumar said.

“I think Longleng has successfully made the Arabian Sea crossing for the 8th time since tagging and became the longest tracked Amur falcon,” he said. “Longleng is followed by Chiulon, a male Amur falcon, which departed from the Somalia coast on April 21, is now middle of its Arabian crossing covering a distance of 3150km and gliding in the jet stream.”

Chiulon – the falcon named after a village in Manipur’s Tamenglong district was also tagged with a satellite transmitters along with ‘Puching’, ‘Phalong’ (all names of villages in Manipur), ‘Irang’ and ‘Barak’ (both names of rivers of Manipur) in Manipur in November last year.

Though all the falcons are sharing their datas during this radio tagging programme, Puching and Phalong failed to transmit any data few days after they were tagged.

The Amur falcons spend the summers in their breeding grounds in northern China and migrate to South Africa during winters. Enroute to their wintering grounds, these birds enter the Northeastern states in October.

The radio-tagging programme started in Manipur in 2018 by forest department in collaboration with WII as part of a project to study the flight route of these long-distance migratory birds and environmental patterns along the route since India is a signatory to an international agreement to conserve migratory birds of prey.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Apr 24, 2020 10:43:32 pm