In Northeast India, about one million Amur Falcons visit regularly for almost a month during October. They come from the breeding grounds in eastern Mongolia and northern China. After stopping for rest and food, they will continue to their destination in southern Africa.
To get a judgment of how much flying these small Amur falcons do, satellite transmitters were attached to five of them. This was done in Manipur in October 2019. In October 2020, two of the five came back to the area, completing a full circuit of their route of migration. The total distance covered was a whopping 30,000km.
The two have been named the locality’s ambassadors for conservation. They spent about two weeks in Manipur before embarking on their journey once more. They would next cross the Arabian Sea to get to Southern Africa.
The Marathon Flight Of The Amur Falcons
Suresh Kumar, a key researcher, said that the names of the two being tracked are Irang and Chiulan. Chiulan and Irang are male and female Amur falcons respectively. By November 2020, the two had reached Somalia. The two were tagged in the village of Puching. The village is about 100km away from Imphal, the capital of the Indian state of Manipur.
Kumar added that Chiulan had flown about 5,700km without taking any breaks, even at night, to reach Somalia. He said that before circling back to Manipur, Chiulan had flown 33,000km. During the journey, Chiulan had flown over several states of India. The journey to Somalia lasted a total of 5 and a half days. It flew 3,000km as it was crossing across the Arabian Sea. Irang had flown 29,000km for her circuit.
Kumar has tagged 15 Amur falcons with satellite transmitters over the past 8 years. The data has helped the scientists understand the birds’ migratory route better. It also helped them identify the routes across remote locations.
This project of tagging had begun in 2013 in November in Nagaland. It was part of an international collaboration to educate the locality about Amur falcons. There are 69 raptor species known in India. However, the Amur falcon is one of the least discussed among them.