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Protection of Great Indian Bustards

  • IAS NEXT, Lucknow
  • 16, Mar 2022
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The Great Indian Bustard (GIB), is one of the heaviest flying birds, and is found mainly in the Indian subcontinent. Barely 150 of these birds are estimated to be surviving now globally Today, its population is confined mostly to Rajasthan and Gujarat. 

  • Scientific Name: Ardeotis nigriceps.
  • Physical description: Black crown on the forehead contrasting with the pale neck and head. 
  • They feed on grass seeds, insects like grasshoppers and beetles, and sometimes even small rodents and reptiles.
  • Distribution: India, effectively the only home of the bustards, today, its population is confined mostly to Rajasthan and Gujarat. Small population also occur in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
  • It is the State bird of Rajasthan. Along with chick-rearing centre for GIB in Jaisalmer, Sorsan in Rajasthan has been identified as the most conducive site for their rearing, due to availability of grasslands, access to roads and well suited climatic conditions
  • The GIB is a flagship species of the grassland; it determines the health of the grasslands, on which many other species of birds and animals, and even the dairy industry is dependent on.


  • Unhindered grazing and installing of windmills and power stations on grasslands, thereby encroaching upon the breeding and wintering ground of the GIB.
  • Large parcels of grassland are converted to agricultural land.
  • The changing agricultural pattern that is moving away from traditional crops is another reason. With the disappearance of the traditional Bajra and Jowar crops, whose by-products served as fodder, their food has been on the decline.
  • An increase in the use of pesticides has further depleted the population of insects like the beetle, which the GIB and other birds feed on.
  • Attacks by dogs & foxes
  • Poaching
  • Presence of high voltage power lines 

Conservation status:

  • Listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972,
  • Listed in Appendix I of CITES
  • Listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List