The Rbesus macaque and common langur are
found throughout Rajasthan with the exception o the arid Thar
desert. Monkeys are unharmed by people because of religious
sentiments, resulting in their bold behaviour, especially near towns
and villages where they snatch food and offerings from unwary
pilgrims. The langur feeds on wild leaves and fruit. A wasteful
feeder, it drops large quantities on the ground where it is consumed
by deer and wild boar which often move with the langur. The langur
sounds the alarm to announce the presence of large predators like
the tiger or leopard to warn their prey.
The state provides shelter to around 500 species of birds,
some of which are rare and endangered. About 50 per cent of these
species are local and the balance migratory, mostly from eastern
Europe, northern Asia and Africa. It is easy to spot as many as 100
species of birds in just a day in Bharatpur.
Sarus is a handsome crane and the tallest bird in the world to fly.
The state’s only resident crane, it is commonly found in its eastern
and southern parts. Sarus cranes usually live in pairs or small
family groups, but congregate in large groups in the summer months
before the onslaught of the monsoons. Even popular legend
acknowledges that these birds pair for life, the partner pining away
on the death of one. They indulge in an elaborate courtship dance
and nest in shallow waters using a heap of grass and reeds. Both
partners incubate the eggs. Partners sometimes greet each other
while exchanging incubation duties at the nest and perform their
courtship dance accompanied with trumpeting.
The majesti great Indian bustard or godawan is the state bird and is
a protected species. Easily spotted in many areas in the desert
region, the Desert national park near Jaisalmer is a good area to
look for it and, during winter, for the migratory Hubara bustard.
The lesser florican too is becoming scare in Rajasthan, though a few
birds can be spotted during their breeding season (monsoon) in the
fields near Nasirabad and Kishangarh, in the district
of Ajmer. Because peacocks are considered sacred by Hindus, they are
quite common in the forests, fields and villages of the state. In
the Kumbhalgarh and Mt Abu wildlife sanctuaries, the
graceful grey jungle fowl is to be found in its northern most limit
o distribution in India.
The wetlands and waterbodies of Rajasthan provide refuge to a large
number of migratory and resident birds. These include ducks, cranes,
pelicans, storks, herons, jacanas, ibises and other aquatic birds.
The migratory birds are accomopanied by a number o predatory birds.
The Siberian crane is the rarest bird that comes to Bharatpur: its
numbers have dwindled from over 40 to a mere three birds in less
than 20 years, probably because it is hunted on its migration route
over Pakistan and Afghanistan. Attempts to induct captive-bred birds
in the wild have not succeeded. Common cranes visit Rajasthan in
winter and can be observed at the Keoladeo national park. Demoiselle
cranes visit western Rajasthan in large numbers.