TODAY -

On the trail of Nongin, the State bird of Manipur
- Mrs. Hume Bar-tailed Pheasant Syrmaticus humie humie -

Kh Hitler Singh *



Nongin - The State Bird of Manipur
Nongin - The State Bird of Manipur - Pix: R.K. Birjit Singh



It was early winter of the year of 2010, both the then Pr.C.C.F. Dr. S. Singsit IFS and the Chief Wildlife Warden Shri A. Kharshi-ing, IFS, of Forest Department were extremely happy with the recent addition of Nongin to the Manipur Zoological Garden brought from Razai Khullen and Shiroi Village of Ukhrul District. The credit went to Mrs. Soreiphy Vasum, IFS, the then DFO/ Ukhrul.

The Nongins were not in the State's lone Zoo for the last thirty five years or so as if the bird had been entirely wiped out from the soil of Manipur. There were moments in the mind of the Foresters and wildlife lovers of the State, that it was better to declare another important bird of Manipur as State bird of Manipur because Nongin might have been locally extinct. The rediscovery of the State bird enthused both Foresters and local Naturalists.

The rediscovery were the result of many years of awareness campaigns both by the Forest Department and wildlife lovers of the State and also with the award of Rs 50,000.00 (Rupees fifty thousand) on one live pair of Nongins declared by the State Government in the year 2010-11. At least five to six Nongins were handed over by the villagers of Razai Khullen and Shiroi Village to the Zoo authority through the Forest Officials of Eastern Forest Division, Ukhrul just before the celebration of 55th Wildlife Week 2010 at Manipur Zoological Garden.

With a serious concern and love for the rare and endangered State bird and for its detailed scientific field study, management and long term conservation strategy in-situ, a team led by Dr. Khangembam Samungou, Retd Reader D.M. College of Science and noted environmentalist, R.K. Birjit Singh, Wildlife Activist and HOD/Life Science, Mangolnganbi College, Bishnupur, Shri Kh. Brajesh Singh, Shri M. Nabin Singh both Video-cameraman with Diploma in Cinematography and myself headed for Razai Khullen of Jessami Sub-Division in a Tata Sumo on 27th November 2010. The Tata Sumo took us up to Shiroi Village. With the help of Chief of Shiroi Village Mr. Achan, we got one local Tata Sumo to take us further to Razai Khullen. Mr. Asem was the driver of the Tata Sumo who was conversant with treacherous terrain and katcha road leading to Razai Khullen.

We reached Razai Khullen at around 8.30 PM of the same day and we were warmly welcomed by Mr. Ismail and his friends. In spite of our late arrival, the family members of Mr. Ismail took the arduous work of cooking our food and providing retiring room. Luckily, it happened that Mr. Ismail was the person who had trapped Nongins for the State Zoo. We woke up in the morning, it was Sunday morning and the villagers were busy for attending the Church of the village.

So our team decided to request the church authority to allow us to disseminate awareness on the State bird and wildlife conservation in the Church itself, just after the church service. The request was readily accepted and then we mingled with villagers in the church service itself. We were given opportunities to deliver brief lectures, interaction with villagers and distribution of wildlife posters.

From the interaction, it was clear that Nongin, the State Bird of Manipur were in plenty in Razai Khullen a few years ago. It is heavily hunted for its meat as it is of almost the size of country chicken. The Pastor of the Church confided us that he himself had eaten nearly two hundred Nongin birds in his lifetime. After the awareness programme, he promised us that he will strive for conservation of the rare and endangered State bird of Manipur through his church.

After the awareness campaign, we were provided lunch again in the house of Mr. Ismail. After the lunch we moved in to the jungle in search of the State bird and its natural habitat. Mr. Ismail, his son, Mr. Asem and one local boy accompanied us. Ismail's son and his friend were very happy that they would get surely some kind of jungle meat for the super in the camp. But we cautioned them that no animals should be killed with their barrel guns.

On the way many local boys were coming out with catapults and carrying with them five to ten birds of smaller sizes but of different species and of very beautiful colour. After 15 to 16 Km journey on foot we set up one temporary camp with trampoline roofing for the night in the jungle. Team members were on their different routes to capture Nongins live in their still and video cameras, as the villagers informed us that Nongins returned to their roosting place with some big sound at around sunset and they roost at the branch of pine tree at about 5 to 6 feet high.

Ismail's son and his friend had to be content with a vegetarian-meal in the cold night in the jungle. But we were unlucky and could not come across any Nongin either in the evening or in the following morning. We came out with heavy heart from the camp area at around 12 noon after spending the windy and cold night in the temporary camp. The villagers assured us to find Nongin in the March or early April when the vegetation were dry and only small pocket of forest were seen because of the annual forest fire resorted by the villagers for hunting etc.

We left Razai and reached Shiroi Village at 4 PM of 29th November 2010. We halted at Shiroi for the night in the Village Chief's House. Early in the morning, team members were searching yet another Nongins' habitat in Shiroi Village, but here also we failed. Thus we left Shiroi for Imphal at around 11 AM.

Biology & behaviour of the Bird:- Nongin, Mrs Hume bar-tailed pheasant (Syrmaticus humie humie) is a big forest bird of the size of domestic country chicken and a resident bird. It is of Pheasant Group and mostly ground dwelling bird and does not fly very far. They exhibit strong sexual dimorphism, the male are highly colourful whereas the female are of dull colour. The male are much larger than the female.

The basic data of a freshly killed Nongin Male bird collected by RK Birjit Singh in his visit on 3/4/2011 were as follows.

(1) Body length (Head to Tail) - 90 cm,
(2) Tail Length - 58 cm,
(3) Body length (Head to vent) - 32 cm,
(4) Total expanded Wing Length - 30 cm,
(5) Carpel Joint to Primary end - 22 cm,
(6) Leg length - 22.5 cm,
(7) Tarsus-13 cm,
(8) Upper digit - 2 cm
(9) Lower mandible (beak) - 3 cm,
(10) Upper Mandible (beak) - 3.5 cm,
(11) Neck - 8 cm,
(12) Body girth - 30 cm
(13) Wing primaries - 10 cm
(14) Wing Secondaries - 15 cm
(15) Primary covert - 8 cm and
(16) Alula - 3cm.
(2) The total body weight of the male nongin bird was 980 gm.

Taxonomic Classification:-

Kingdom - Animalia,
Phylum - Chordata,
Class - Aves,
Order - Galliforms,
Family - Phasianidae,
Scientific Name - Syrmaticus humie humie,
Common Name - Hume's Pheasant, Hume's Bar-tailed Pheasant, Mrs Hume's Pheasant, Mrs Hume Bar-backed pheasant.
Local Language/dialect - Nongin, Loining-khoi, Noiningkhoi (Manipuri), Tharikthra (Tangkhul), and Lickashila (Razai).

Food of Nongin:- The diet after preliminary analysis of the stomach of the death bird, found to include variety of seed and plant part like leaf and buds in different proportion in different seasons. Seed of Oak or Quercus species (Quercus franchetii), Ficus hispida, Ardisia crenata, Acrophorus stipellatus, Castanopsis delavayi, Daphniphyllum oldhami, Eurya ciliata, Gomphostemma microdon, Hemiphragma heterophyllum, Lithocarpus xylocarpus, Maesa argentea, Millettia longipedunculata, Smilax china, Ternstroemia gymnanthera, Athyrium guangnanense, Pseudocytopteris spinulosa are the major portion of Nongin diet.

During winter they also consume larger proportion of fagaceae and ferns and different kind of insects etc. To grind the strong seed such as Qurecus the Nongin also ate small hard stone particle as well. They also take small percentage of Eurya nitida and Lindera nacusua. The feeding strategies of Syrmaticus humie, was selecting high quality food and followed by eating suitable plants from foraging patches.(Analyzed by RK Birjit Singh).

Conservation History:- Nongin (Syrmaticus humie humie) was declared as State Bird along with Sangai (Rucervus eldii eldii) as State Animal, Uningthou (Phoebe hainesiana) as State Tree and Shirui Lily (Lilium mackliniae) as State Flower vide Government of Manipur order No 60/5/86-For (pt) Dated 21/3/89. Mr AO Hume the then President of Indian National Congress had studied the bird and the bird had its name as Mrs Hume Bar-tailed pheasant in honour of Mrs AO Hume and presence of white colored bar in the tail or back of the male bird.

Conservation Status and threat in India:- The bird is included in the Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act 1972 according a place among the species with the highest level of protection legally in India. But being a State bird and a flagship species of conservation value, the species was not given the much needed conservation efforts in its natural habitat.

The villagers of Razai are not protecting the bird right now and Forest Department also could not enforce Wildlife Protection Act in the village right now as there is no Forest Office in the area. Further the habitat of the birds are susceptible to different kind of uncontrolled resource utilisation such as logging, jhuming and Forest Fire during dry season for hunting etc.

IUCN Conservation Status:- IUCN had classified this Bird Species as Near Threatened as on 2008, Vulnerable-2004, Vulnerable-2000, Vulnerable-1994 and Threatened-1988. (The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species).

Distribution of Nongin:- There are two sub-species of Nongins viz (Sh humie) and (Sh burminicus). Nongin (S. humie humie) is believed to be found in the Forest of Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur of India. (Sh, burmanicus) is believed to be found in Eastern Mynmar, South China, and Thailand etc.

Habitat Type:- The habitat found in the Razai Village is of Sub-tropical Pine Forest and Sub-Tropical Moist Deciduous Forest. The under storey consists of Schima wallichi, Emblica officinalis, Querecus turbinatus, Qurecus serrata etc. Rajai is at the much lower elevation from Shirui and a bit warmer than Shirui. The nongin bird prefer warmer climate. The bird is found to the lower elevation of Shirui Village but not to the higher reach of Shirui Mountain.

Threat to the species at Ukhrul Distrct:- The major threats to the bird are hunting both by Gun or catapults, systematic trapping and habitat loss or shrinkage by different human activities such as logging, Jhuming and Annual Forest Fire. The pine forest in Razai and also in the Part of Razai to Ukhrul, are afflicted with stem borer as most of the pine trees are dying from the top as the leaves start drying from the top until the tree is completely dry. This also may affect the roosting of the bird.

Conservation Strategy:- The Razai Forest should be declared as National Park under Section 35 of Wildlife Protection Act 1972 for Nongin, the State Bird of Manipur with local villagers' consent as the best conservation strategy as if Keibul Lamjao was declared National Park for conservation of the State animal, Sangai, way back in 1977. If the community felt otherwise the area may be declared as Community Reserve for Conservation of the diverse Flora and Fauna without changing the community ownership of the land under Section 36 C of Wildlife Protection Act 1972.

While settling right and claim of villagers there should be flexible and abundant resettlement package and long term support to the villagers to adopt reduction in natural resource utilisation by providing fuel efficient cooking equipment, providing piggery, poultry scheme and other alternative income generating activities from conservation plan and render abundant helping hands from other line departments or international assistances on priority basis.

Non consumptive utilisation of wildlife and wilderness such as eco-tourism/wildlife tourism benefitting the local people should be encouraged in the Razai Village. Further in-depth scientific study both in wild and in captivity of the species and associated species should be initiated at the earliest for long term conservation.

Conclusion:- It is hoped that the people of Razai Khullen will sacrifice their age old practice of hunting wildlife, unplanned logging, jhuming etc and they will support the conservation efforts taken up by the State Forest Department to conserve Nongin, the State Bird in the Razai Area. The State Government also would surely take up comprehensive compensatory rehabilitation package for the sacrifice made by the villagers of Razai Khullen.

The conservation of Nongin habitat will ensure conservation of representative biological diversity of Razai Region with Nongin as Flagship species of conservation. We are optimistic that we shall be able to conserve, increase the population of Nongin and conserve its habitat in Manipur so as to enable us to hand over the rich natural legacy to our next generation safe and sound.

The writer would like to thank and acknowledge Shri A. Kharshi-ing IFS PrCCF/ Govt of Manipur, Shri L. Joykumar Singh IFS DCF/ Park & Sanctuary Division and all the team members for their kind suggestion and improvement of this article.

Related Article :




* Kh Hitler Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express . The writer is a wildlife official and can be contacted at kharibam(at)kanglaonline(dot)com
This article was posted on August 03, 2011.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • 18 Immortal Souls Remembered : Flash
  • The Great June Uprising : Read all about it
  • The Pitfalls of Identity Politics
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • All his sons :: Poem
  • Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016
  • Eid bring cheer in flood hit areas
  • Willong Khullen, Maram #1 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Defending the environmental defenders
  • Delusion in self - cause of worry
  • Road to Russia: FIFA World Cup
  • It must be love :: Poem
  • 'Future of Naga people is bleak'
  • Give a miss call to Amnesty
  • 'Naga area' bandh on June 18
  • Dzuko valley #4 :: 360 Panorama View
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #2 : Gallery
  • Id-Ul-Fitr Festival
  • Letter to PM Modi on Naga Talks
  • Greetings on Eid-Ul-Fitr
  • Rejoinder to NPF statement
  • Rejoinder to Nagaland Chief Minister
  • Flood relief continue on 3rd day
  • India-Vietnam Youth Dialogue 2018
  • MU debacle: Why would it be left unnoticed
  • Spirit of World Cup : Brazil to Russia
  • NEC to come under Home Ministry
  • Manipur NGO hosts summit on LGBTQ
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #1 : Gallery
  • Women Struggle in Self-Determination
  • 14 June- World Blood Donor Day
  • Naga Integration not possible- NPF react
  • Naga Integration is not possible- CM Rio
  • Relief work in flood affected areas
  • A day which keeps our spirit alive
  • Ranked 320 in the country : MU
  • Flood in Imphal [13 June] #2 : Gallery
  • Irenna, Zeinorn, Ithoibi :: eMing
  • Sovereignty Struggles in Northeast #5
  • Be alert: It's admission time
  • Yin and Yang
  • Watermelon beauty benefits
  • Temp accommodation for Aligarh students
  • Wrath of Mother Nature: Why challenge..
  • 60 pc is no longer first class : 95 pc
  • Flood in Imphal [13 June] #1 : Gallery
  • Sanamahi Laihui & Sanamahi Laining
  • Kuhi- Essential plant for Nungbi pottery
  • Climate justice is integral to development
  • The bridge :: Poem
  • Lt S Vijaya Devi felicitated
  • Then : Indifferent :: Now : Hyper sensitive
  • Phumdigi Tantha : Dance Drama : Gallery
  • Grief at Xavier Rutsa's demise
  • Modi's India: A descend into Ochlocracy
  • The Philippine Experience
  • Cry of a Dying River #33 :: Poem
  • Community Iftar at Moijing, Cachar
  • Candle Light at DU over Assam lynching
  • Demand replacement of Manipur Univ VC
  • The Tragedy of Higher education
  • Unacceptable points spelt out
  • Teinem Luira Phanit @Ukhrul #3: Gallery
  • RPL-PMKVY trainees @Hojai : Gallery
  • Manipur Sports University in UP ?
  • Coloniality of the Postcolonial
  • Yellow leaves in the autumn :: Poem
  • Prof N Irabanta-distinguished academician
  • Leadership matters
  • Artificial turf for budding talents
  • 2 municipal bodies in NE awarded
  • Who is Arambam Somorendra ?
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #3 : Gallery
  • Linthoi's "The Tales of Kanglei Throne" #2
  • Grass root challenge- Education in hills
  • Earth does not belong to us...
  • Sita Mata as test-tube baby
  • What happen to VIP Culture Mr. CM
  • Merchants of education
  • Laitonjam Rajnikanta : Profile
  • A blessing to see :: Poem
  • Sovereignty Struggles in Northeast #4
  • Difference between Hinduism & Hindutva
  • How to choose the perfect fragrance
  • Iftaar party at Lilong
  • Bitter truth of Manipuri society
  • MU, NSU, IGNTU : Students at the centre
  • Amuktang-Ga Haikho #1 : eRang
  • Sangai Veterans' Football #2 : Gallery
  • Pony : A Cavalry Horse Par Excellence #2
  • Issues that keep Manipur burning
  • Cry of a Dying River - 32 :: Poem
  • CM & AR interaction with villagers
  • Certification of PMKVY trainees of Hojai
  • Christian appeals for Peace in Shillong
  • How safe are our women?
  • Riders put up by JAC for talk
  • Khangkhui Cave in Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • Pluralism, Democracy & Ethnic Relation #2
  • Irom Sharmila meets with Mehbooba Mufti
  • JRF @ Mizoram University (Biotechnology)
  • Tobacco and heart disease
  • Understanding SOWA - RIGPA #2
  • Campaign "to End Child Sexual Abuse"
  • Implementation of 7th Pay
  • Indigenous street vendor sing gi wafam
  • The crumbling Manipur University
  • Kang Tournament @ Yaiskul : Gallery
  • Zeliangrong orphaned by Nationalism #1
  • A rainy night :: Poem
  • HSLC Exam is the start! What next?
  • World Environment Day: Thoubal, Chandel
  • 1528 cases of fake encounter
  • Shifting tide
  • Sharmila calls on JK CM Mehbooba
  • Linthoi's "The Tales of Kanglei Throne" #1
  • Handloom Weaver @Bishnupur : Gallery
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #2 : Gallery
  • Hinduism in Manipur : Political Perspective
  • World Environment Day at Sendra
  • All the World and his Wife :: Poem
  • Two Shaft Handloom Weaver at Bishnupur
  • Career Guidance Workshop at Ukhrul
  • Rejoinder: on Vigilance Commissioner
  • Appointment of Vigilance Commissioner
  • Towards the brighter side of Technology.
  • MU in the news for wrong reasons
  • Tribal Cultural Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Women in CCpur turn to self-help groups
  • Fear and Worry
  • Rongmei Scholars Association formed
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Deteriorating politics in Manipur University
  • Purul Paoki Wrestling : Gallery
  • Sangai Veterans' Football #1 : Gallery
  • Devolution of power to PRIs
  • Khangminashi IV (Lecture) : Report
  • Seminar at MU - Hinduism in Manipur'
  • Northeast: Issues at Stake #2
  • Thietham - A story of grit of a girl
  • Daylight robbery: Will the govt wait..
  • Date with Dy CM : Was it prudent?
  • On FIR against NPF President
  • Yepthomi - winner in Nagaland Lok Sabha
  • Evolution of The Meetei State
  • Heartbreak at Ukhrul: Unfolding Shirock
  • Bacteria, pathogenic bacteria..
  • Drafting Bill for Protection of Manipuri
  • Cry of a Dying River - 31 :: Poem
  • Char saal Modiji sarkar :: WJ
  • Imran Khan signed by FC Goa
  • The mental equation
  • State Level Khurpui-Lam Festival: Gallery
  • June Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • School Girls Basketball #2 : Gallery
  • Where horse trading terminated so curtly
  • Reactions to Merger into Dominion of India
  • Course in Political Science at NEHU
  • Impunity allows extrajudicial execution..
  • National Robotic @IIT Techniche
  • K-Startup Grand Challenge campaign 2018
  • Are Congress & BJP the only option of India
  • Unceasing cease Work strike
  • Where is Manipur....???
  • 'Manipur' in Google maps : Gallery
  • Making Arts & Science colleges relevant
  • Pluralism, Democracy & Ethnic Relations
  • Parliamentarians for Anti-Racial Law
  • Architectural Designer @ R-Square Design
  • Walk-In for AdL SBT Hub, MU
  • Recruitment with Globizs, Imphal
  • Never filed FIR, filed complaints with ECI
  • The Killing Fields - 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Rohingya problem: Humanitarian crisis
  • Mama Poktabi :: Funga Wari
  • Veterans Football Tournament #2 : Gallery
  • Kishon & Taka Tamut scaled Mt. Everest
  • What is Nipah Virus? How does it spread
  • 74th Anniv: Battle of Red Hill commemorated
  • Naha Activist singbu khudakta thadokpiyu
  • Erendro's arrest is not a wise decision
  • IM accuses AR of 'derail peace process'
  • Pony : A Cavalry Horse Par Excellence #1
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #1 : Gallery
  • Shirui valley travelogue
  • Iftar at Aligarh by Manipur Student Assn
  • Sougrakpam Vijaya makes history sailing...
  • Arunachali unfurled Salai Taret at Mt Everest
  • Panthoiba: 2nd Rank- class XII, Uttarkhand
  • Ras Leela @JNMDA Day : Gallery
  • HSLC 208 Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • HSLC 2018 :: Toppers Listing
  • HSLC 2018 :: Check Result
  • HSLC :: Statistical/Subject Topper
  • HSLC 2018 :: External
  • Voices from beyond Kangleipak Ema
  • Technology redefines unity
  • Veterans Football Tournament #1 : Gallery
  • Climate change from Christian perspectives
  • International Nurses Week #2
  • Civil Engineer @ R-Square Design
  • Poumai Purul Hiimai Paoki #2 : Gallery
  • Kakching Garden :: 360 Panorama View
  • Folk Dance Festival #5 : Gallery
  • Aerial view from Chingmeirong : Gallery
  • Governor's Taekwondo Cup: Gallery
  • Khangkhui Cave, Ukhrul #2: Gallery
  • Curtain Raising- Sangai Fest 2017: Gallery
  • Story of Silence : @Somorendra Lecture
  • Lainingthou Lai Lam thopka #2 : Gallery
  • Re-visiting Khangkhui caves in Ukhrul
  • Sandrembi Cheishra :: Book Review
  • Ngasepam Nalini : State Akademi Award
  • Gardening @Ema Keithel #2: Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #2: Gallery
  • Pakhangba Cheng Hongba #2 : Gallery
  • Steelheart @ Shirock , Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • A. Halim Chowdhury: A Profile
  • Class XII Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • Class XII Result : Science Toppers
  • Class XII Result : Arts Toppers
  • Class XII Result : Commerce Toppers
  • HSE Result 2018 : District Wise
  • HSE Result 2018 : Highest Marks
  • HSE Result 2018 : Science Stream
  • HSE Result 2018 : Arts Stream
  • HSE Result 2018 : Commerce Stream
  • Kh Sanjita & Saikhom Mirabai :: Gallery
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS