The Bengal Florican (Houbaropsis bengalensis) is the only species of bird that belongs to the family Otididae in Vietnam, also known as bustards. It is a large, ground-dwelling bird that is native to Southeast Asia, including Vietnam. The Bengal Florican is a Critically Endangered species, with a declining population due to habitat loss and other human activities. It is known for its distinctive, tall, and showy crest of feathers and its elaborate courtship displays.
The Bengal Florican feeds on grass seeds, leaves, and insects and is most active during the day. This species is an important part of the ecosystem and helps maintain the balance of the grasslands where it lives. Conservation efforts are underway to help protect the Bengal Florican and its habitat, in order to prevent its extinction.
Bengal Florican is known as a dry grassland bird species. It usually prefers short grasslands for feeding and long grasslands for breeding. After breeding season this bird is known to leave the breeding areas and occurs in degraded grasslands and farmlands. However, non-breeding habitat requirements in
detail is still scarcely known.
Bengal Florican is active only during the early morning and early evening for feeding. It is an omnivorous bird and feeds on seeds, flowers, berries, tubers, and insects like grasshoppers, bbeetles, lizards, etc.
Reproduction and Life Cycle
Bengal Florican lives a solitary life, but both males and females have multiple partners during the breeding period. Breeding season starts in March and lasts up to May during which male holds fixed territories and shows an aerial display of flight to attract female and defends territories from other males. The female lays 1-2 eggs in long grassland and incubates for 4 weeks.
The major conservation threats to the population of Bengal Florican within its range are habitat loss due to succession and fragmentation, grassland burning, overgrazing and disturbances by livestock, invasion of alien species, conversion of grassland to agricultural land, plantation, etc. which result has restricted the breeding population within few protected areas.
Bengal Florican is a highly threatened species of bird that inhabits alluvial grassland. It can be considered as an indicator species for the grassland ecosystem conservation to benefit a wide range of grassland fauna. The existing threats to the Bengal Florican can be reduced through a better understanding of its ecological requirements and incorporating them in habitat management, conservation education among managers and local communities, and conservation of breeding and wintering habitats.
A Tip to Identify Bengal Florican on the Field
Rapidly declining dainty bustard of tall grassland. The male is black with a speckled brown back and white wings, while the female is intricately patterned in buffy brown all over. Retiring and seldom seen outside of the breeding season, when the male’s extravagant leaping display flight frequently brings it above the grasses and into view.