Demoiselle Crane — First Record from Bengaluru, India

Deepa Mohan

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Demoiselle cranes undertake one of the toughest migrations in the world. From late August through September, they gather in flocks of up to 400 individuals and prepare for their flight to their wintering grounds.

At the last minute, on Sunday morning, I convinced 20 other birders that instead of going to Valley School, we should bird along the Kaggalipura-Bannerghatta stretch, and then go to check out Hulimangala. And there, at nearly the end of a long birding outing, we saw a migrant which has never before been sighted in the Bangalore area – the Demoiselle Crane. I have since got information that there were at least two individuals on the lake.

Demoiselle cranes undertake one of the toughest migrations in the world. From late August through September, they gather in flocks of up to 400 individuals and prepare for their flight to their wintering grounds. During their migratory flight south, demoiselles fly like all cranes, with their head and neck straight forward and their feet and legs straight behind, reaching altitudes of 16,000-26,000 feet (4,875-7,925 m). Along their arduous journey they have to cross the Himalayas to get to their wintering grounds in India. Many die from fatigue, hunger and predation from golden eagles.

Here is some additional information that Dr. N S Prashanth shared with me, on the same topic:

  • The most recent southern Karnataka record is by Shivaprakash from Kollegal (south-west of Bangalore). He includes the following interesting notes on its previous rare sightings in and around Mysore as comments in his record. He too has sighted a solitary bird amid Black-headed Ibis.
  • These have been recorded at Yelandur & Nanajangudu (nearby area) reported by Phythian-Adams (1940), Asian Mid-winter waterfowl census 23.1.1992 at Maddur Kere near the place where earlier recorded by VIjayalaxmi Rao, Guruprasad P & others and on 28.01.2001 in KRS backwaters by Shivaprakash A, Ramesh S & Mohankumar M.

References:

  • Phythian-Adams, E. G. 1940. Small game-shooting in Mysore. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 41: 594-603
  • Shivaprakash, A. 2002a. Re-occurrence of Demoiselle Crane in Mysore district. Newsletter for Birdwatchers: 42(1):8″
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About the author

Deepa Mohan

Deepa Mohan is a freelance writer and avid naturalist.



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