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North West India: Desert National Park (Great Indian Bustard & other goodies) (1 Viewer)


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The Thar Desert in the Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan is the western most frontier of India and although its sandy and scrubby desert-scape can seem rather lifeless, it is actually a veritable hotspot for birding. In particular, there are some sought-after species here that are difficult to find elsewhere in India. By far the most important target here is the spectacular Great Indian Bustard, a subcontinental endemic. The bird that once almost became India’s national bird is now at the brink of extinction, with about less than 100 remaining (which some consider to be an optimistic estimate). The huge Desert National Park (~3100 sq km) is the GIBU’s last stronghold, with little over 40 individuals calling its relative security home as of recent times (although almost all of them are concentrated in the small area of Sudasari). The rest are in highly fragmented (and potentially unsustainable) populations elsewhere in peninsular India.

I recently did a quick trip there to search for the GIBU and other goodies like Stoliczka's Bushchat, Black-bellied & Spotted Sandgrouse, Trumpeter Finch, Asian Desert Warbler, Plain Leaf Warbler, Black-crowned Sparrow Lark, Bimaculated Lark, Cream-coloured & Indian Courser, Barbary Falcon and Punjab Raven, Desert Lark, Striolated Bunting and Rufous-tailed Wheatear. Enjoy the detailed trip report with pictures, map, diary and annotated trip list:

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