Habitat preferences and conservation threats to Black-necked Cranes wintering in Bhutan

Rinchen Namgay, Sangay Wangchuk

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Abstract

Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) is a vulnerable Red list species whose populations are declining. However, little is known about Black-necked Cranes’ habitat requirements or the causes of their population decline. We identified Black-necked Cranes’ winter roost and foraging preferences of Black-necked Cranes in Bhutan during the winter of 2013–2014. Black-necked Cranes’ roosts were recorded using Garmin GPSmap 60CSx, while foraging preferences and threats to the birds were identified based on a survey of household heads (n = 107) residing within a 3 km radius of roost sites. We grouped the threats identified by the communities into four major categories, viz. biological, social, political and natural threats based on the relevance. Of the four major threats, communities residing within the roosting and foraging habitat of the Black-necked Crane reported biological threat as major. Biological threats as reported by communities include loss of habitat, food shortage and competition from other animals. We recommend the present roosting areas be designated as part of the conservation areas for Black-necked Crane wintering in Bumthang district. In addition to preserving these areas, government should also encourage farming in foraging habitats of Black-necked Crane, because they mainly feed on barley, wheat, paddy, potatoes and buckwheat, besides roots, tubers and insects in the wetlands.
Original languageEnglish
Article number228
Number of pages6
JournalSpringerPlus
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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