, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 795-805

Breeding performance of Indian Sarus Crane Grus antigone antigone in the paddy crop agroecosystem

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The breeding performance of the Indian Sarus Crane Grusantigone antigone Linn. was studied in the agriculturallandscape of Gujarat, India during 1996. Detailed records of a total of22 nests were compiled from egg-laying till fledging. Eleven clutches(50.0%) produced at least one chick. Ten clutches (45.45%) weredestroyed due to various mortality factors, and one clutch (4.50%)failed to hatch. Of the 10 pairs whose clutches were destroyed, at leastfour renested. Renesting in the wild was reported for the first time.Egg destruction was mainly due to flooding (12.20%), predation (21.95%)and conflicts with farmers (14.64%). Predation accounted for 31.58% ofchick mortality. The egg and chick mortality factors identified wereunique to the agricultural ecosystem. The number of chicks that hatched andof chicks fledged per nest did not differ significantly in differentmicrohabitats. Hatching success was higher in non-cultivableagricultural marshland (68.18%) compared to paddy cultivated marshland(38.48%), mainly due to human disturbance and higher predation risk.Overall breeding success was 19.51%. Juveniles comprised only 8.96% ofthe total number of Sarus Cranes sighted during the post-breedingperiod. One of the causes of poor breeding performance in theagricultural landscape was increasing conflict with the farmers, whosuffer economic loss due to nesting in the crop field. If compensated,farmers may help in Sarus Crane conservation efforts.