Threatened Species and Nature Education

Saving the endangered Jerdon's Courser

Jerdon's Courser Recovery Programme

Jerdon's Courser is a nocturnal bird known only from Eastern Ghats. It inhabits open patches within scrub-forest. This habitat is under tremendous pressure due to various anthropogenic activities. This project is an effort to save this critically endangered bird and its habitat.

Nocturnal, Elusive, Rare & Critically Endangered

Jerdon’s courser Rhinoptilus bitorquatus is a Critically Endangered nocturnal cursorial bird found only Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India. It was considered to be extinct from the beginning of the 20th century until its rediscovery in 1986. Studies since 2000 resulted in several new sites for the species within about 20 km of the previously known one and described relationships between Jerdon’s courser abundance and habitat characteristics. However, increase in various anthropogenic activities has resulted in loss of scrub jungle habitat at the fringes of the Sri Lankamaleswara Wildlife Sanctuary, where the species is found. The irrigation canal construction near this sanctuary destroyed few previously known sites and has probably led to ecological changes at other suitable habitats in this region. The last reliable record of this species was in 2008. However, the Jerdon's Courser might still occur since many potentially suitable regions in Eastern Ghats  have not yet been surveyed. Based on the long term research and in consultation with Andhra Pradesh Forest Department a Species Recovery Plan was prepared in 2010. 

Recovery plan implementation

The main objectives of this recovery plan are: 

  1. To ensure that the Jerdon’s courser and its existing habitat are well protected and appropriately managed.

  2. To locate potentially suitable habitats outside the known range of Jerdon’s courser and to determine whether the species occurs there.

  3. To undertake research to support conservation efforts and monitoring to track future population and habitat changes.

  4. To raise awareness of the conservation issues and ensure that local communities and the wider public have a positive impact on the conservation of Jerdon’s courser.

Some of the on going activities carried out along the the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department (APFD) to meet these objectives are: 

  • Survey and monitoring through camera trapping to detect the presence of the bird.

  • Establishing Nature Information and Training Centre for APFD and general public.

  • Training for the APFD staff on various survey techniques to detect the Jerdon's Courser and appropriate management of the scrub jungle habitat.

  • Habitat monitoring and mapping.

  • Removal of non-native tree species (Eucalyptus and bio-diesel plantations) to restore the scrub jungle habitat.