Composition and Dynamics of Migratory and Resident Avian Population in Wintering Wetlands from Northern India

Kaushalendra Kumar JHA, Craig R. MCKINLEY


Twelve wetlands occurring in four different ecozones in Uttar Pradesh (UP), India, were selected for studying the winter composition and dynamics of avian populations. Wetland information was collected from office records of the UP Forest department. Bird populations were estimated by transect method and block-in-flock-in-sector method for woodland and aquatic birds, respectively. Across the twelve selected wetlands a total of 486,182 individuals belonging to 161 species of birds on 15,592 ha were recorded during the winter of 2010-11. The data were analyzed to assess the relationship between wetland characteristics and avian populations. Aquatic vegetation, surrounding vegetation, water availability and climate were found as important factors related to avian populations. January was found to be the peak of bird assemblage, while winter times before and after January were the waxing and waning period, respectively. Species richness and species diversity of aquatic birds varied between 18-58 and 1.90-3.20, respectively, and of all bird species between 23-109, and 1.73-3.81, respectively. The density of aquatic birds ranged between 17-384 ha-1. The most common migratory birds in wetlands were Northern Pintail, Common Teal and Greylag Goose. Common resident birds included Asian Openbill, Darter, Little Egret, Common Coot, Little Cormorant, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Indian Pond Heron, Common Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Cattle Egret, Indian Sarus Crane and White-throated Kingfisher. For improved conservation of aquatic avian fauna, management prescriptions are suggested for wetlands under current management which could also be extended to other wetlands, whereas conservation of avian fauna to be the emphasis.

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