Lesser Florican Sypheotides indicus
- Sypheotides : Greek word siphon-straw; otidos- bustard
- Indicus : From India
Vernacular Names: Sind: Tanmur, Kharmur, Hindi: Leekh, Chhota charat/charaz, Barsati/Kala charaz or tuqdar, Bhil: Khar teetar, Ben: Chhota dahar, Likh, Guj: Khar mor, Khadmor, Kutch: Tiloor, Mar: Tanner, Tanmor, Ta: Warragu kozhi, Te: Nela nemali, Mal: Chatta kozhi, Kan: Kannoul, Chini mor
Distribution in India: Resident of West and Central India. Best Seen in Sohakhallaya Village in Rajasthan during Monsoons
Description: Size of 46-51 cm. A male in breeding plumage has a black head, neck and lower parts and the throat is white. Around three 4 inch long, ribbon-like feathers arise from behind the ear-coverts on each side of the head and extend backwards, curving up and ending in spatulate tip. The back and scapulars are mottled in white with V shaped marks. The wing coverts are white. After the breeding season, the male tends to have some white in the wing. The female is slightly larger than the male. The females and males in non-breeding plumage are buff with black streaks with darker markings on the head and neck. The back is mottled and barred in black. The neck and upper breast are buff with the streaks decreasing towards the belly. The outer primaries of the males are thin and notched on the inner-web. The leg are pale yellow and the iris is yellow.
Habitat: It is found in grasslands but it sometimes occurs in fields such as those of Lentils and maize. The Male lives in Lentils while the female hides in maize. The nest is also built in the maize field
Food Habits: Eats Shoots, grass, herbs, seeds and berries; also grasshoppers, beetles, centipedes, lizards and frogs. They feed during the early hours of mornings or in the evenings, except in the case of newly migrated birds which feed throughout the day.
Breeding Habits: They breed in Jul–Sept, with exact timing depending on distribution and intensity of SW monsoon. During the breeding season, males leap suddenly from the grass with a peculiar croaking or knocking call, flutter their wings and fall back with slightly open wings. At the apogee of the leap the neck is arched backwards and the legs folded as if in a sitting posture. These jumps are repeated after intervals of about three or more minutes. The displays are made mainly in the early mornings and late evenings, but during other parts of the day in cloudy weather. The breeding system is said to be a dispersed lek with each male holding a territory of about 1-2 hectares. Males are said to favor particular display sites. The Lek sites tend to have flat ground with low vegetation and good visibility and well used sites usually show signs of trampling. Females have a defensive display at nest which involves spreading their wings, tail and neck feathers. The females are said to produce a whistling call which attracts males. Males are aggressive towards other males in the neighbourhood. The nest is a shallow scrape on the ground and 3-4 eggs are laid. The nest location is usually in dense grass. Females take sole part in incubation and rearing the chicks. The incubation period is about 21 days.
This bird has been targeted as a game bird and shooting of these displaying birds has led to sharp declines in the populations in the past. Also the decline in the habitat due to human interference has made this species an “Endangered “species as per IUCN