- Be a part of this amazing conservation story
- Observe the largest single raptor species migration in the world
- Up to a million Amur Falcon come through this area in a 10-day period each year
- Nagaland is India’s most remote state, opened only recently to outsiders
- Incredible wildlife jeep safaris include the endangered Asian One-horned Rhino
Witness the spectacular migration of Amur Falcons in Nagaland as they arrive end of October till early November in thousands from Sibera & northern China before taking off for Africa. It is believed to be possibly the biggest falcon roosts in the world. This is a lifetime experience. The best of natural wonder, community tourism and local experiences. With wildlife and birding expert.
The Amur falcon is a fascinating bird. It is only the size of a pigeon, but it has one of the longest migratory paths in the bird kingdom, travelling up to 22,000 km in a year. It also survives wholly on insects including termites, making it a very useful bird to have around for farmers.
It is also one of the most successful conservation stories of recent times. Till a few years back villagers in Nagaland have been hunting or rather massacring the birds for their meat. Green groups estimate that at least 120,000 birds were killed every year.
Alarmed by these shocking numbers local conservation agencies of Nagaland, the church and the villages of Pangti, Ashaa and Sungro, stepped in and launched a conservation & patrolling programme called ‘Friends of the Amur Falcon’. This entire effort has been led by a fiesty journalist-turned-conservationist Bano Haralu.
Today hunting the Amur Falcon is a rare occurrence. And the Wokha district of nagaland has become the Falcon capital of the World.
The Amur Falcon, a slim little raptor that feeds largely on insects, is slightly bigger than an American Kestrel. The males are dark gray above, paler below, with elegantly contrasting white wing linings and a splash of bright rufous on the thighs and undertail coverts. The females and juveniles are very different, their white undersides barred with black and lightly washed with buff on the chest, the face distinctly “mustached” after the fashion of most falcons. All ages and sexes have bright carmine legs and feet. The Amur was long lumped with the very similar Red-footed Falcon of western and central Eurasia. Amurs, however, breed in wooded margins and the edges of savannas from eastern China and North Korea to parts of Siberia and Mongolia (an area roughly a third the size of the Lower 48 in the U.S.), from which they make one of the longest migrations of any raptor in the world, some 8,000 miles one way to southern Africa.
In the process, they also undertake the greatest over-water crossing of any bird of prey, traversing as much as 2,400 miles of the Indian Ocean. Over water, the hot-air thermals and deflection currents that assist raptors migrating over land, allowing them to soar for hours and save energy, are largely absent. This means the falcons must beat their wings continuously on their transoceanic trip, which may take them four or five days. If they’re to survive, they must top off their tanks before they leave land.
And so in late October and early November, the migrant falcons pause for some weeks in Nagaland. At this same time of year, just after the monsoon, there is a great stirring underground as countless subterranean termite colonies prepare for the mating season. Worker termites chew tunnels to the surface, out of which emerge trillions of winged, inch-long fertile adults known as alates—fat-rich and the perfect food for an insectivorous falcon about to risk an ocean crossing.
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