Kerala to have its own regional red list of birds

Banasura laughingthrush (Banasura Chilappan), an Endangered species.

Banasura laughingthrush (Banasura Chilappan), an Endangered species. | Photo Credit: Abhinand Chandran

Kerala will soon have its own red list of birds. The Kerala Bird Monitoring Collective led by Kerala Agricultural University and the Bird Count India will conduct the regional red list assessment.

Once it gets ready, Kerala will be the first State to have a region-specific red list of birds. Assessment will be done on the basis of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) guidelines, says P.O. Nameer, Head of the Centre for Wildlife Studies, College of Forestry, Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur.

“What we have now is the global IUCN red list. But there are limitations for the global assessment as it is a process prepared in a global context. A species seen common at the global level may be a threatened species at the regional level. The regional red list assessment also will be conducted according to the IUCN guidelines,” says Mr. Nameer.

The IUCN guidelines for preparing the red list have five main criteria. The population size reduction measured over 10 years or three generations is one of the major guidelines. Geographic range on the basis of extent of occurrence or area of occupancy is another. Small population size and decline; very small or restricted population; and quantitative analysis indicating the probability of extinction in the wild are the other criteria.

White-rumped vulture, a critically endangered species.

White-rumped vulture, a critically endangered species. | Photo Credit: P.O. Nameer

According to the global IUCN red list, Kerala has 64 threatened species of birds. In that, Red-headed vulture and White-rumped vulture are critically endangered. Steppe Eagle, Banasura Chilappan and Nilgirl Chilappan are endangered and 11 species are vulnerable.

“This is the list according to the global assessment. There may be changes at the regional -level,” says Mr. Nameer.

The Kerala Bird Monitoring Collective is planning to prepare the red list for the State in a year. It will be a decentralised process like how the Kerala Bird Atlas was prepared.

“We already have a good amount of data on the basis of the Kerala Bird Atlas. Conducted as a citizen science-driven exercise with participation of over 1,000 volunteers of the bird watching community, the atlas, prepared between 2015 and 2020, provides a solid baseline data about distribution and abundance of various bird species in the State,” says Mr. Nameer, who coordinated the atlas project.

The Kerala Bird Atlas accounts for nearly three lakh records of 361 species, including 94 very rare species, 103 rare species, 110 common species, 44 very common species, and 10 most abundant species. According to the atlas, most of the endemics are concentrated in the Western Ghats while the threatened species are cited mostly along the coast.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 10:26:29 pm |