Project: Developing a conservation action plan for Forest Owlet (Heteroglaux blewitti), a Critically Endangered species endemic to central India
Description: The Forest Owlet (Heteroglaux blewitii), is an Endangered, bird endemic to India and placed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972. The species has been recorded only from a few isolated dry deciduous, Teak (Tectona grandis) dominated forests in the Central Indian landscape.
Our previous study, with a lot of help from collaborators to collect the first genetic information on the species, revealed the phylogenetic status of the species. We found that the species may actually be a member of the Athene genus. A summary of this completed project is here. We also conducted an analysis of the possible role of paelo-climatic fluctuations on the distribution of this species and its con-geners - co-occurring owlets Jungle and Spotted Owlets.
In this project, we hope to examine the phylogenetic relationship with more Next Generation Sequencing data. We further attempt to examine the relationship with climate that was proposed previously by examining the demographic history of the species with genomic data.
The primary recipient of the project is Dr Shomita Mukherjee and is hosted at SACON. We work in collaboration with SACON to execute specific parts of the project - bioacoustics, and genetics.