Desert Fox Pays the Price of a Smoother Road

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This Desert Fox (Vulpes vulpes pusilla) roadkill, was photographed on November 4, 2017, on the way to village Charwas, one km from the forest guest house of Tal Chhapar Blackbuck Sanctuary. This road was renovated a year back.

A healthy population exists of both desert and Indian foxes in the Guashala region of Chhapar. The desert fox, also known as the white-footed fox, can be identified by the dark upper-half behind the left ear and white-tipped tail. Many fox dens … Read More

Why Do Birds Preen?

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Birds have up to 25,000 feathers, and regular preening keeps each feather in top condition. Second only to feeding, preening is a common bird behaviour easily observed.

So, why do they preen? Here are some reasons:

  • Aligning feathers for optimum waterproofing and insulation
  • Aligning feathers into the most aerodynamic shape for easier, more efficient flight;
  • Removing feather parasites and body lice that can destroy feathers or carry disease
  • Removing tough sheaths from newly molted feathers; creating a healthier appearance to
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Tawny Eagle with a Spiny-tailed Lizard, Tal Chhapar

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The Spiny-tailed Lizard (Uromastyx hardwickii) is the only herbivorous lizard in India, and has a wide distribution in small fragmented populations in the dry areas of northwestern India. These lizards hibernate through the winter in their burrows and emerge in spring. In the arid landscapes they habitat, they form a significant prey base for predators especially raptors and small carnivores.

Things didn’t go as per plan for this unfortunate lizard emerging from winter migration in the grasslands of … Read More

Feral Dogs – A Growing Threat to Wildlife

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The grasslands of Tal Chhapar in Rajasthan are home to a rich variety of wildlife. Blackbuck dominate the park landscape and during winter, it’s a paradise for birdwatchers. Majestic raptors, fast-flying falcons, agile wheatears, spiny-tailed lizards, the list goes on. While the park has a well balanced ecosystem, wildlife does spill out of the park due to various reasons. Villagers often dump carcasses of their dead animals for open burials at the nearby Goshala. These carcasses attract scavengers, like Egyptian … Read More

Courtship of Red-necked Falcons, Tal Chhapar

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The Red-necked Falcon (Falco chicquera) is a widespread resident in India and adjacent regions as well as sub-Saharan Africa.

Once mating of this bird commences, the female suspends or minimises hunting and the male hunts and provides her with food, mainly birds. Here, a male brings a kill to the female. The female then starts de-feathering the dove. It is ironic that in doing so, the female doesn’t let the male come close to the prey. We see … Read More

Red Phalarope, a Rare Vagrant for India, Tal Chhapar, Rajasthan, April 2012

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The Indian subcontinent records both Red (or Grey) Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius) and Red-necked Phalarope. Both are Arctic breeders that spend the non-breeding (winter) season at sea in the south Pacific, with the Red-necked Phalarope also in the Arabian Sea, and Red off West Africa. Red-necked Phalaropes migrate overland in Europe and Asia, and are encountered in inland wetlands, but Red Phalarope is a vagrant and occur inland only when storm-driven.

On 18 April 2012, Range Forest Officer (RFO) … Read More