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Biodiversity & Environment

State of India’s Bird 2020

  • 18 Feb 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the State of India’s Bird 2020 was released at the 13th Conference of Parties of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals which is taking place in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

  • The first-of-its-kind analysis was carried out by ten research and conservation organisations across India.
  • It used a massive database of over 10 million observations uploaded by 15,000 birdwatchers on the online platform (e-Bird) and ‘citizen science data’ to assess the distribution and trends of common Indian birds.

Key Points

  • Declining trend:
    • The groups that show the greatest decline are raptors, migratory shorebirds, and habitat specialists, including White-rumped Vulture, Richard’s Pipit, Indian Vulture, Large-billed Leaf Warbler, Pacific Golden Plover and Curlew Sandpiper.
  • Increasing Trend:
    • The species that have shown an increase in numbers include Rosy Starling, Feral Pigeon, Glossy Ibis, Plain Prinia and the Ashy Prinia
  • Categorisation of Birds:
    • The study categorised 101 species as “high concern”, 319 as “moderate concern” and 442 into “low concern”.
    • Out of the species categorised as a high concern, 26% are classified globally by IUCN as “least concern”.

Analysis of Species

  • Indian Peacocks:
    • The numbers of India’s national bird, the Indian Peacock, has increased dramatically over the past few decades.
    • The increase in numbers of the species has been attributed to a combination of the bird expanding its range (earlier it was absent in Kerala), conservation efforts and associated penalties for poaching under Schedule I of the Wildlife Act.
    • It is listed as ‘Least Concern’ on the IUCN Red List.
  • Indian vultures:
    • It has experienced catastrophic population declines starting in the early 1990s.
    • The declines are almost entirely attributable to inadvertent poisoning by the livestock anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac.
    • Surveys conducted have shown that White-rumped Vulture has suffered the most severe declines, followed by Indian Vulture and Egyptian Vulture.
  • House Sparrow:
    • The House Sparrow has been found to be stable across the country as a whole, although declining in the major cities.
    • It has been declared as the “State Bird of Delhi” to save the species and enhance awareness about their life and habitat.
    • The reasons for the decline include decreasing insect populations (a key part of the diet of sparrow chicks) and paucity of suitable nesting sites.
    • Moreover, the popular theory that radiation from mobile phone towers is a factor is not supported by the findings of this report.
  • Bustards in India:
    • All the four species of bustards in India (the Great Indian Bustard, Macqueen’s Bustard, Lesser Florican and Bengal Florican) have suffered continuous population declines.
    • The decline is observed due to historical hunting and widespread habitat loss, with their slow growth and reproduction.
  • Waterbirds:
    • It showed overall long-term declines, amongst which migratory shorebirds and gulls and terns appear to have declined the most.
    • Overall, migratory species (both long-distance and within-subcontinent) show steeper declines than residents.

Key Recommendations

  • Updation of global and national priorities using conservation assessments.
  • Fund conservation efforts on High Concern species and habitats where species have declined.
  • Support monitoring efforts by citizen scientists and researchers.
  • Promote collaborations between researchers and the public at large

Source: IE

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