- According to the “State of India’s Birds 2023” report, a large number of bird species in India are either declining or projected to decline in the long term.
Highlights of the report
- Overall, the report analyses 942 bird species in India and highlights the major threats that they face,
- The report classifies the 942 species into three categories for conservation action:
- 178 species are high priority;
- 323 are moderate priority; and
- 441 are low priority.
- Generalist species which do not depend on a habitat or ecosystem like the Indian peafowl and Asian koel are mostly stable or thriving.
- Shorebirds that breed in the Arctic have declined by nearly 80% as a whole.
- Insectivorous birds and those that feed on other species, like raptors and vultures, are in peril.
- Migratory birds, which face extreme weather events, predation, and starvation, are at greater risk.
- Monoculture – It reduces the species diversity of birds in a given area in comparison to natural biome such as a tropical rainforest.
- Environmental pollutants– Several toxins and chemicals tend to accumulate in the birds body and also move along food chains, thereby reducing their population size. Environmental pollutants including veterinary drugs such as nimesulide still threaten vulture populations in India
- Forest degradation- Deforestation of and for need of resources has endangered the surival of several species that are on the brink of extinction.
- Urbanisation- As per the report, the most urbanised regions in India have the least number of bird species, the least number of rare species, and the fewest insectivorous species.
- Energy infrastructure (wind energy and power lines) – Transmission lines have led to the death of many large-bodies species because of collision.
- Avian disease- It can cause chronic population declines and reduce reproductive success and survival of organisms.
- Climate change- The annual global temperatures are on the rise. This affects birds population especially when the timing of annual events like breeding, nesting and migration become out of sync.
Measures to be taken
- The report points out the need to conserve specific groups of birds. For instance, the report found that grassland specialists have declined by more than 50%, indicating the importance of protecting and maintaining grassland ecosystems.
- The report highlights that Systematic monitoring of bird populations over long periods of time is critical to understanding small-scale changes in bird populations.
- The report calls for harmonization of policies related to river, water, and wasteland development for widespread conservation of bird species.
- The report also highlights the need for citizen engagement for better conservation of India’s bird population.
- On the basis of the findings of this report it is important to come up with an action plan for the conservation of bird populations and habitats.