Kestrel in Flight

Eurasian Kestrel in flight. Common kestrel flying directly towards the lens in the grasslands of Tal Chhapar, Rajasthan, India.

Tal Chhapar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Northwestern Rajasthan on the fringe of the Great Indian Desert; The Thar. This small grassland habitat is surrounded by sparse scrub and dry dusty plains peppered with salt pans. Originally a hunting ground for the Maharaja of Bikaner it was declared a sanctuary in the 1960s.

India’s Grasslands are home to some of its most endangered species, many of which are endemic. This important habitat now only exists in a handful of places in India and is sadly becoming increasingly scarce.

This stunning grassland wasn’t always the paradise seen today. After decades of neglect and encroachment by the nearby salt production the sanctuary was in a sorry state. Thanks to efforts coordinated by Mr. S.S.Poonia, the range forest officer at Tal Chhapar, over the years the grassland has been transformed. After gradually stripping away the invasive plant; Prosopis juliflora a variety of grasses were planted such as Mothiya grass, a favourite of the blackbucks, which derives its name from ‘moti’ meaning pearl, as its sweet seeds look like pearls. The final result is vast swathes of pristine grassland bustling with animal life. 

Kestrel in flight : About the Common Kestrel

The Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) otherwise known as the Eurasian kestrel is a small widespread raptor. Common kestrels are found throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa. They are typically seen hovering 10-20m over open habitats such as grassland, scrubland, marshland, fields, and heaths. Here they use their keen eyesight to hunt for reptiles, amphibians, rodents and small birds.

You can find out more about The Eurasian Kestrel here.

 

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Eurasian Kestrel in flight. Common kestrel flying directly towards the lens in the grasslands of Tal Chhapar, Rajasthan, India.

 

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