Greater Adjutant (Leptoptilos dubius)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 12254255
Greater Adjutant Leptoptilos dubius, once very widely distributed in India, South and South East Asia, is currently known to distributed only in Assam and Bihar in India (Rahmani et al. 1990, Choudhury. 2000, Choudhury et al, 2004 and Mishra and Mandal, 2009) and a very few South East Asian countries in very small (Clements et. al. 2007). This species has been placed in “endangered” in IUCN Red list and Schedule IV in Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Experts suggest that population of this colonial nesting large sized water bird has declined drastically in last couple of decades basically due to destruction and disturbance of its traditional nesting colonies areas (Goswami and Pator 2007). However, presence of other physiological threat, if any, is still unknown or not studied.
In Assam, Greater Adjutant mainly establishes their nesting colonies in privately owned land in countryside tall trees. Though past nesting records are available within protected areas, currently this bird mainly depends on its traditional nesting sites in thickly populated areas outside the protected area network. As this bird use mainly private areas for its nesting in Assam, Government sponsored institutional mechanism has limited role to play on its breeding habitat and entire in situ conservation scenario. Community is a key stakeholder for any in situ future conservation effort (Barman et al. 2011). Government forest department, non- governmental organisations, academic and research institution may provide necessary supports for spreading the conservation programmes in the communities. Very recently this bird has been identified as an “edge” species by Zoological Society of London and opined that this bird is slowly moving towards more danger zone (Walter Jetz e. al., 2014). If the population takes further downward trends, conservation breeding programme cannot be ruled out for this species. It is important to note that a large number of chicks die every year due to nest fall and timely rescue and rehabilitation of nest fall bird may play an important role in its conservation. (Barman, 2013, Singha et al, 2006).
Through this project, we initiated a community conservation programme in the prime breeding locations of Kamrup and Nagaon District of Assam. Communities have responded to the conservation of this bird and now this bird is protected by the villagers in these nesting colony. In the return, population has increased in Kamrup District and now it is estimated that probably 50% of its global population could be seen in this district alone.
Till last decades, Nagaon District breeding colony of this bird used to be biggest nesting colony in Assam , but however its Kamrup breeding colony is now the biggest nesting colony of this bird. Again breeding colony in Nalbari District is also missing. In one breeding colony of Dadara-Pacharia-Singimari villages of Kamrup District of Assam we recorded about 450 numbers of individuals in the month of November 2013 and this could be considered as the highest number of this bird in any of its breeding colony recorded elsewhere.
Project 12254255 location - India, Asia