Jerdon’s courser

One of the most elusive birds which keeps getting rediscovered after getting extinct

Charles J. Sharp

The Jerdon’s Courser, a mysterious and elusive bird indigenous to southern India, holds a precarious position on the brink of extinction. Its known range is restricted to specific areas, primarily within the state of Andhra Pradesh, where it inhabits the Godavari river valley near Sironcha and Bhadrachalam, as well as the Cuddapah and Anantapur districts in the Pennar River basin.

This enigmatic bird was once believed to have vanished from the face of the Earth, known only from sparse historical records. However, in a remarkable turn of events, the Jerdon’s Courser was rediscovered in 1986 by Bharat Bhushan, an ornithologist affiliated with the Bombay Natural History Society. The rediscovery of this species sent shockwaves through the ornithological community, shedding light on the precarious status of this elusive bird.

Prior to its rediscovery, the Jerdon’s Courser was assumed to be a diurnal bird, but subsequent observations revealed its predominantly nocturnal behavior. Under the cover of darkness, this cryptic bird emerges from its hiding places to forage for its preferred prey of insects, displaying remarkable adaptability to its nocturnal lifestyle.

Despite its rediscovery, the Jerdon’s Courser remains highly endangered, primarily due to ongoing habitat loss and degradation. As human activities encroach upon its already limited range, the survival prospects for this rare bird grow increasingly dim.

Unfortunately, due to its elusive nature and remote habitat, very little is known about the Jerdon’s Courser’s behavior and breeding practices. Researchers and conservationists face significant challenges in studying and protecting this species, exacerbated by its rarity and the inhospitable terrain it inhabits.

Efforts to conserve Jerdon’s Courser are urgently needed to prevent its slide into oblivion. Conservation initiatives focused on habitat preservation, restoration, and community engagement are critical to safeguarding the remaining populations of this endangered bird.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
India
75-374
Official estimate
CR
2016
Breeding

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No