Regions with significant populations
  • India
  • Bangladesh
  • { Pakistan
  • Afghanistan

The Mirshikar are a Muslim community, found in North India who were traditionally hunters and trappers of birds and small animals. This title was used for the high position of "chief huntsman" and served in the courts of Persian and Mughal rulers and taught them to hunt.[citation needed]

Some were recorded as bird-catchers in Bihar around 1964.[1]


In one Mirshikar community in Bihar, young men needed to prove themselves fit for marriage by catching a loha sarang, the black-necked stork known for being vicious. The practice was stopped when a boy was killed in the process.[2]

Ali Hussain from a mirshikar community in Manjhaul in Begusarai is acclaimed for his work as a bird trapper for the Bombay Natural History Society. He worked with Salim Ali and many other ornithologists to aid the marking and study of birds. In 1998 he was flown to Jackson County, Mississippi and during his 1-week visit, he demonstrated his clap-trap and noose-trap techniques and helped capture 10% of the sandhill crane population of Mississippi.[3] His method is now a standard in crane research.[4] In 1998, the Indian government Films Division recorded a documentary featuring Ali Hussain.[5]


  1. ^ George, P.V. (1964). "Notes on migrant birds of north Bihar". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 61 (1): 370–384.
  2. ^ Grubh, B.R.; Shekar, P.B. (1968). "Blacknecked Stork (Xenorhynchus asiaticus) and the marriage of Mirshikars". Newsletter for Birdwatchers. 8 (3): 1–2.
  3. ^ Hereford, S.G.; Grazia, T.E.; Nagendran, M.D.; Hussain, Ali (2001). "Use of traditional Indian trapping methods to capture sandhill cranes". North American Crane Workshop Proceedings. p. 220.
  4. ^ Parker, Jeannette M.; Folk, Martin J.; Baynes, Stephen B.; Candelora, Kristen L. (2008). "Use of Clap Traps in Capturing Nonmigratory Whooping Cranes in Florida". North American Crane Workshop Proceedings. Paper 196.
  5. ^ "Birdman. News Magazine. 370. Directed by Shankar Patnaik. Produced in 1998". Films Division, India. Archived from the original on 2021-12-15. Retrieved 16 September 2016.