The waterbird population in inland wetlands recorded during a synchronised survey this year was lesser due to the prevailing high water condition in most of the wetlands.
After coastal wetlands, the survey for inland wetlands was done in Tamil Nadu covering 339 wetlands from 25 districts. This comprised of 14 inland waterbird sanctuaries including the historical waterbird sanctuary such as Vedanthangal. Salem hosted 97 inland wetlands which was the highest followed by Chennai with 28 wetlands.
A synchronised survey is done to get a roughly accurate estimate on the population of both resident and migratory waterbirds, said Shekhar Kumar Niraj, Chief Wildlife Warden, Tamil Nadu.
Due to heavy rain this year, all resident and migratory birds were seen scattered and spread to most wetlands rather than their traditional areas.
Among all the districts, Tirunelveli district was recorded with the highest population of waterbirds with numbers exceeding 33,000 of 41 waterbird species.
Near-threatened species like Spot-billed Pelican, Eurasian Spoonbill, Oriental Darter, Painted Stork and Black-headed Ibis were seen in thousands with nestlings. The dominant species recorded from Tirunelveli district are Spot-billed Pelican and Painted Stork.
These birds are generally observed widely in most of the wetlands, including paddy fields. They are seen in more numbers in their traditional nesting sites such as Vedanthangal, Koonthankulam, Therthankaal, Melaselvanoor and Keelaselvanoor sanctuaries, the Chief Wildlife Warden, said releasing the findings in a statement.
The near threatened and uncommon Oriental Darter are seen in their maximum numbers from Koonthankulam, Vedanthangal and Vaduvoor bird sanctuaries.
About 20 individuals of Common Pochard has been recorded in a satellite wetland of Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary. River tern which commonly prefers dam sites was recorded from the Anaimalai Tiger Reserve. Both are listed as vulnerable in IUCN category.
Koonthankulam bird sanctuary and its satellite wetlands attracts about 2,000 Bar-headed Goose which is the highest recorded in this census. This area regularly attracts around 2,000 Greater Flamingo every year. But this year the number was less than 150 due to the high-water level condition.
The uncommon Comb Duck was seen in numbers around 700-800 in the Koonthankulam tank and its satellite wetlands. The Little Grebe or Dabchick was recorded in dense flocks in the Velur tank of Thoothukudi district, the survey revealed.