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State of India’s Birds’ Report 2023

  • Published
    26th Aug, 2023
Context

The State of India’s Birds (SoIB) 2023, released recently finds that while a few bird species like the Indian peafowl are thriving in India, many are in decline.

About the Report:
  • The report, based on 30 million observations contributed by 30,000 birdwatchers across the country, also highlights major threats – including pollution – to bird populations across the country.
  • It lists 178 bird species in the country as being of “High Priority” for immediate conservation action.
  • Developed by: There are about 13 institutions in India (six government institutions including the Wildlife Institute of India and seven conservation NGOs) and independent professionals came together to analyse data on bird distribution and population trends of 942 bird species in the country.
  • The data is taken as updated on eBird, an online database of bird observations.

     

Highlights of the Report:

  • SoIB 2023 Report Overview: Survey categorizes 942 bird species; 178 High Priority, 323 Moderate Priority, and 441 Low Priority.
  • Data Enrichment: SoIB 2023 widens scope with more data, expanded species coverage, providing comprehensive insights into bird population shifts.
  • Long-Term Decline: 60% of 338 species analyzed showed long-term declines, with 204 species declining, 98 rapidly.
  • Current Annual Trends: 40% of 359 species declining; 142 species, including raptors and vultures, in rapid decline.
  • Habitat Specialists: Grassland, wetland birds in decline; some generalists like Indian peafowl thriving; Ashy Prinia, Rock pigeon, Asian koel increasing.
  • Biodiversity Hotspots: Western Ghats, Sri Lanka hotspot rapidly declining for which reasons remain unclear, impacting overall bird populations.
  • High Priority Species: Includes Ruddy shelduck, Indian courser, Narcondam hornbill, and Nicobar megapode; some globally Least Concern.
  • Recommendations for Change: Report suggests 17 species qualify for different IUCN threat status nationally, like Indian Roller and Northern shoveler.
  • Continued Decline: Trends align with 2020 report as around 74 of 101 High Concern birds persist, 104 new High Priority listings.

Status of Bird in India:

  • India is home to more than 1,350 bird species.
  • Some are endemic: they’re restricted to specific areas such as biodiversity hotspots, and are found nowhere else in the world.
  • Such as the White-bellied blue flycatcher, a small songbird that you can spot only in the Western Ghats of south India.
  • Some are habitat specialists: they are found only in some habitats in the country.

Great Indian bustards, for instance, are ground-dwellers and are restricted to open habitats such as grasslands that are broadly known as open natural ecosystems or ONEs.

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