Called ‘distinguished guests’ or ‘winged-guests’, amur falcons have started to arrive in Nagaland. The first flock of the migratory birds was sighted at Barak valley in Peren district last week, according to Nagaland wildlife department.
Usually, actual migration of the bird takes place from the first week of November.
Dimapur wildlife warden Caroline K. Angami and Wokha divisional forest officer Zuthunglo Patton had confirmed the arrival of the first flock of amur falcons at Barak valley in Peren.
The amur falcons spend about one month in Nagaland, mainly at Pangti village forest under Doyang area in Wokha district, every autumn.
During the period, they feast on insects to gain fitness for their long arduous journey of 22,000 km to South Africa. Nagaland was declared ‘Falcon capital of the world’ by a team of international ornithologists in 2013.
According to a wildlife official, the lone tagged surviving amur falcon named ‘Longleng’ is on its way to Nagaland. A total of eight amur falcons were tagged with satellite transmitters so far.
Nagaland chief wildlife warden Satya Prakash Tripathi reportedly said ‘Longleng,’ the only surviving amur falcons tagged with satellite transmitter, is nearby Nagaland.
Tripathi said, “Sometimes we cannot trace where the birds are, and sometimes the transmitters do not function properly so we do not get any information regarding the rest of the birds. There is a possibility that the birds might have died or maybe, our transmitters are not functioning.”
The amur falcons generally have a lifespan of two to three years, he stated.
In November 2013, a team of scientists from the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Wildlife Institute of India, Convention on Migratory Species Office, United Nations Environment Programme and Environment Agency, and Nagaland Forest department along with Pangti villagers undertook a joint scientific mission to satellite-tag the amur falcons in Nagaland at Doyang in Wokha.
The birds were satellite tagged in two phases, one in November 2013 and the other in November 2016.
Three birds named ‘Naga,’ ‘Wokha,’ and ‘Pangti’ were satellite tagged in the first phase in November 2013.
In the second phase in November 2016, five birds named ‘Hakhizhe,’ ‘Intanki,’ ‘Longleng,’ ‘Eninum,’ and ‘Phom’ were tagged.
Tripathi also said the birds will not be tagged in Nagaland this year. They will be tagged in Manipur where they also visit.