India ranks ninth in global bird wealth list

With the presence of 1,168 bird species recorded in the country, India has been ranked 9{+t}{+h}in the global list of bird wealth.

While a majority of Indian species belonged to the Least Concerned category indicating that they were relatively safe from threats, the country was ranked 6{+t}{+h}in terms of globally threatened species. The ranking of the bird wealth and the threats faced by the species were listed in the country profile released by BirdLife International, the “global partnership of conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity.”

It was also indicated that 78 of India’s bird species belonged to the globally threatened category indicating the threat level they were facing in the country.

Land birds formed the majority (1,094 species) of the avian species found in the country and 50 were endemic to India. The country is regularly visited by 460 species of migratory birds, which spend around six months of a year in India. Water birds (202 species) and seabirds (50 species) also formed part of the rich avian fauna.

Conservation status

The critically endangered species like White-bellied Heron, Great Indian Bustard, Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Siberian Crane and Forest Owlet are there in the list of globally threatened species. The conservation status of the birds in the country indicated that there were 14 critically endangered, 13 endangered and 51 vulnerable species. The status assessment also indicated that 64 species belonged to the near-threatened category and 1,025 to Least Concerned.

Status of Nicobar Scops-owl Otus could not be assessed as data on the species was found deficient. The species, according to the report, “is known from two specimens collected at Campbell Bay on Great Nicobar, the largest of the Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal, India. It may occur on other islands in the group, particularly Little Nicobar, but equally may be endemic to Great Nicobar, and perhaps restricted in range on that island.”

The ornithologists are of the opinion that its status may have to be up listed as “threats to its presumed habitat of coastal forest have increased following the devastating 2004 tsunami.” Scientists also concede that “virtually nothing is known of its ecology. It is likely to be a sedentary resident.”

The tsunami “may have affected large parts of its breeding habitat, and the aftermath of the tsunami has exacerbated the existing pressures on coastal forest habitat, with many homeless people raising plantation crops to generate revenue and building houses in littoral forests.”

Habitat Kerala

Of the 14 critically endangered species, White Rumped Vulture, Indian Vulture, Red Headed Vulture, Blue Robin and Black Chinned Laughingthrush are found in Kerala. Ten species of vulnerable varieties, including Nilgiri Pipit and Yellow throated Bulbul, are also found in Kerala.


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