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Updated: May 27, 2010 20:52 IST

Five more birds fly into the threatened species zone

Staff Reporter
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The Great Indian Bustard.
PTI The Great Indian Bustard.

Recent studies by BirdLife International and Bombay Natural History Society have revealed that the list of threatened bird species in the country has risen from 149 in 2008 to 154 now.

Destruction of habitat is the prime reason for all these disappearing species. According to BirdLife studies in Asia, the condition of Great Slaty Woodpecker has deteriorated from “least concern'' to “vulnerable'', while that of Rufous-backed Bunting has deteriorated from “vulnerable'' to “endangered''.

Commenting on the decline in bird numbers, BNHS director Dr. Asad Rahmani said: “It is extremely alarming that almost 13 per cent of the world's birds are critically endangered or vulnerable. Great Slaty Woodpecker is an addition from India into the vulnerable category, primarily due to habitat loss. The fact that now 154 bird species from India are threatened as against 149 some time back is an indicator of further deterioration of the environment.''

Dr. Rahmani added that supposedly common species in India like Nilgiri Blue Robin and White-bellied Blue Robin have been included in the endangered category. Himalayan Quail and Pink-headed Duck are considered extinct in India since they have not been seen for nearly 100 years. But as there is still hope to rediscover these birds, they have been included in the critically endangered category.

BNHS and Indian Bird Conservation Network have been working on several critically endangered species including Bengal Florican, Jerdon's Courser, Sociable Lapwing, Forest Owlet and four species of vultures.

Dr. Rahmani, who has been working on the Great Indian Bustard for 30 years, noted that the Bustard is among the 16 endangered species in India and is very likely to become critically endangered soon, unless concrete steps are taken for the protection of its habitat.

In light of the alarming situation of several bird species in India, BNHS has strongly urged the Indian Government to start special programmes for the protection of birds and their habitats. BNHS has identified 466 important bird areas across India which are crucial bird habitats. At present 200 among them are not officially protected. A release issued by the BNHS noted that all such areas should be protected and the local communities involved in such conservation measures in a manner that it becomes a win-win situation for all with a sustainable development model.

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