A publication, titled ‘75 Endemic Birds of India’, which was released on the 108th foundation day of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), points out that about 5% of birds found in the country are endemic and are not reported in other parts of the world.
India’s bird species:
India is home to 1,353 bird species, which represents approximately 40% of global bird diversity.
Of these 1,353 bird species, 78 species, which is around 5%, are endemic to the country.
About the Publication:
The publication highlights the importance of endemic bird species in the country.
The details of endemic bird species contained in the publication include etymology (meanings of scientific names) and their historical relevance along with vital facts such as subspecies’ differences, distinguishing traits, preferred habitats, breeding habits, and food preferences.
Objective: The publication is aimed at making information about endemic birds of the country available to everyone, and highlighting the efforts to conserve species that are found only in restricted areas.
As, endemic species are restrictive in nature, it is important that their habitats need to be conserved.
Highlights from the Publication:
Around 75 bird species belong to 11 different orders, 31 families, and 55 genera, and exhibit remarkable distribution patterns across various regions in India.
The highest number of endemic species has been recorded in the Western Ghats, with 28 bird species.
Some of the rare species recorded in the country’s bio-geographic hotspot are;
The Malabar Grey Hornbill (Ocycerosgriseus)
Malabar Parakeet (Psittaculacolumboides
Ashambu Laughing Thrush (Montecinclameridionalis)
The White-bellied Sholakili (Sholicolaalbiventris)
Amongst them 25 bird species are endemic to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Bird species which are only found in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are;
Nicobar Megapode (Megapodiusnicobariensis);
Nicobar Serpent Eagle (Spilornisklossi);
Andaman Crake (Rallinacanningi); and
Andaman Barn Owl (Tytoderoepstorffi).
Four species of birds are endemic to the Eastern Himalayas, and one each to the Southern Deccan plateau and central Indian forest.
Of the 78 endemic species, 25 are classified as ‘Threatened’ by the IUCN.
Three species are listed as ‘Critically Endangered’.
Five of the endemic birds in India are categorised as ‘Endangered’, and
17 as ‘Vulnerable’,
While 11 are categorised as ‘Near Threatened’ on the IUCN Red List.
Bird Sanctuaries in News:
1. Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary (Keoladeo National Park)
It is one of the most important bird sanctuaries in India and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its migratory bird species and being a critical breeding ground for several bird species.
2. Sultanpur National Park
It is a popular bird watching destination near Delhi and is important for the conservation of bird species like the Siberian crane.
3. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Named after India’s most famous ornithologist, it is a biodiversity hotspot for several endemic bird species and a crucial habitat for migratory birds.
4. Chilika Lake Bird Sanctuary
It is the largest coastal lagoon in India and a vital habitat for a variety of migratory and resident bird species, including the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin
5. NalSarovar Bird Sanctuary
It is a wetland sanctuary that supports a variety of migratory and resident bird species and is an important stopover for birds on the Central Asian Flyway.