Kerala

15 birds in Kerala among ‘species of concern’

Heart-spotted woodpecker has been reported from the Periyar National Park and the Parambikulam and Peechi Vazhani wildlife sanctuaries.

Heart-spotted woodpecker has been reported from the Periyar National Park and the Parambikulam and Peechi Vazhani wildlife sanctuaries.  

Entry of Heart-spotted woodpecker in ‘State of India’s Birds’ comes as a surprise

Fifteen bird species, including Banasura and Ashambu laughingthrushes, of Kerala have been flagged as key species of concern in the State of India’s Birds report released by the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA). The entry of Heart-spotted woodpecker, a forest bird, on the list, released recently, has caught many birders by surprise.

White-bellied Sholakili, Broad-tailed grassbird, Nilgiri thrush, Nilgiri pipit and White-rumped vulture are some of the entries on the list. The conservation concerns of most of these species on the list are known, but the entry of Heart-spotted woodpecker and Forest wagtail came as a surprise, says P.O. Nameer, South Asia Coordinator of the Conservation Planning Specialist Group, IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). Thirteen species of woodpeckers are found in Kerala.

Spots on body

The Heart-spotted woodpecker got its name from the heart-shaped spots on its body. Renowned birder Induchoodan named it Chithrangan Maramkothi, Dr. Nameer says.

The bird has been reported from the Periyar National Park and the Parambikulam and Peechi-Vazhani wildlife sanctuaries, among other places, according to conservation documents.

The conservation challenges faced by the species, including its habitats, feeding and reproductive specialities, need to be assessed and conservation management measures evolved, says Dr. Nameer. The NBA report is being claimed as the “first comprehensive assessment of the distribution range, trends in abundance, and conservation status for most of the bird species that regularly occur in India.”

The authority has written to all State Chief Wildlife Wardens to use the report for monitoring and documenting the abundance of the species and to include the information in their People’s Biodiversity Registry, says V.B. Mathur, chairman, NBA.

The increased presence of Indian peafowl in Kerala, from where it has not been reported earlier, has also caught the attention of the authority. The general increasing trend in the abundance of the national bird appears to be the result of a “combination of range expansion and a population increase virtually throughout its distribution,” it is noted. The “reasons for this pattern have not been investigated in detail, but expansion into Kerala may be associated with an overall drying trend,” it notes.

The presence of the Peafowl has been widely reported from across the State during the past decade. Incidentally, Kerala has a dedicated wildlife sanctuary for the bird, Choolannoor peafowl sanctuary, in Palakkad. A section of farmers of Palakkad, especially paddy cultivators, have been complaining about the crop loss caused by the bird, which has been accorded the highest level of legal protection.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 2:58:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/15-birds-from-state-listed-as-species-of-concern/article31731734.ece

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