Staff Reporter

The book contains information on 160 species of birds

Karnataka is home to 522 species of birds The book contains a wealth of information on birds and their features The book is aimed at students, teachers, forest officials and other interested persons

BANGALORE: For bird-watchers and wannabe ornithologists, two avid followers of the feathered kind have penned a unique encyclopaedic in Kannada.

Titled "Pakshi Prapancha," the book with over 312 pages on 160 bird species will be released at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan here next Friday.

Peppered with colour photographs and graphics, the book introduces readers to a wealth of information on each of the 160 species.

Many details

"Simple, non-technical description, common English names, scientific names, Kannada names, local names from most parts of Karnataka (including tribal languages), Sanskrit names, call, prominent identification features highlighted by pointers, habitat, strata, diet, protected status, activity, breeding season, migratory/resident status and more," list the authors Harish R. Bhat and Pramod Subba Rao.

Here's why the authors set out to bring out a comprehensive guide on birds from the State: Limited information

"A few books in Kannada are mostly narrative and contain limited information. In addition to the dialects of Kannada, there are other regional languages spoken within the State. No attempt has so far been made to collate and document bird names in these dialects. Besides, the field guides in Kannada do not indicate the status of a bird as per the Indian Wildlife Protection Act," explain the authors.

Field guides

The field guides currently available in Kannada, they say, "are generally very perfunctory and do not have any information useful to a serious bird-watcher or even a beginner."

The book is aimed at the common public, students, teachers, forest officials, tourists, bird-watchers and other interested individuals.

"We feel that such a book was required for the people of Karnataka as very few books are currently available offering all the details."

There is another prime motive. "Birds are under more pressure than ever before due to agricultural intensification, climatic change, growing demands for water, expansion of urban areas and transport infrastructure and over-exploitation of seas.

Conservation

The information contained in the field guide can champion the cause of conservation of birds - an important and indispensable component of our ecosystem and biodiversity."

Karnataka is home to 522 species of birds, 14 of which are found nowhere else in the world, but only in the Western Ghats.

Background

Of the authors, Mr. Bhat has been working as a researcher since a decade at the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, in the field of biodiversity, wildlife conservation, nature education through schools and other environment-related areas.

He has also authored a book on medicinal plants.

An avid bird-watcher for many years, Mr. Subba Rao has written articles on bird behaviour, conservation and protection of birds.

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