Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Species in news: Pied Cuckoo


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Migration of Pied Cuckoo and its association with Indian monsoon onset

Mains level : NA

A new project by a number of agencies is using advancements in nanotechnology to study migratory patterns of the Pied Cuckoo.

This specie carries an unusual importance compared to other IUCN species. Go through this newscard to read more about it.

Pied Cuckoo

  • There are basically three subspecies of the Pied Cuckoo of which one is resident in Africa while another is resident in South.
  • The third is a migrant moving between India and Africa.
  • The Pied Cuckoo is famous in North Indian folklore as ‘chatak’, a bird that quenches its thirst only with raindrops.
  • From Southern Africa, it comes to the Himalayan foothills stretching from Jammu to Assam to breed every year. The birds come to the same localities every year.
  • It is also a brood parasite in that it does not make its own nest and instead lays its egg in the nest of other birds, particularly the Jungle Babbler.

About the Study

  • The project is a joint effort by the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun and the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), which comes under the Indian Space Research Organisation or ISRO.
  • The Pied Cuckoo migration study is part of a larger project — Indian Bioresource Information portal (IBIN) funded by the Department of Biotechnology under the Union Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • It aims to deliver relevant bioresources (plant, animal and other biological organisms) information of India through a web portal.
  • The project aims to assess the likely impacts of projected climate change on the potential distribution of Pied Cuckoo in the altered climate change scenarios.

Why study Pied Cuckoo?

  • It is closely linked with the arrival of the south-west monsoon in India.
  • It moves to India during the summer.
  • Being a small, terrestrial bird, a sea crossing holds a lot of risk for this cuckoo.
  • Before it migrates back to its home in the southern African region, by flying over the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean, it must be stopping somewhere.
  • It is these stopovers that researchers want to find out about.

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