Climate Change, Forest degradation and illegal hunting and trade are some of the major threats for the Birds in India. A recent Report of State of India’s Birds gives some worrying trends. Out of 942 bird species assessed, 204 species have declined in last 30 years. According to a report released recently, which is based on 30,000 birdwatchers in the country, 338 bird species studied in India for changes in numbers over the last 30 years, 60 % birds species have shown a long term decline and 40% of the bird species are currently declining.
There are many species of birds that are declining and those with a large range in habitats outside the Protected Areas, especially habitats like grasslands, rivers and coasts. Protection of birds requires an approach beyond Protected Areas incorporating entire landscapes.
The State of India’s Birds report was created to assess the conservation status of the majority of species of Birds that regularly occur in the country. Though widespread species of Birds are declining worldwide, but in India lack of Information has meant that conservation attention has been focused on only few species.
The factors that affect the Birds in India are Climate change, Urbanization, hunting, pollution, disease, ecosystem degradation and monocultures. Wild bird populations and assemblages can be impacted by these threats in complex ways and at different spatial scales.
The report contains a brief outline of the methods used to come up with the State of India’s Birds. Powered by Citizen Science, State of Indian Birds returns with a wider assessment of Birds in India for conservation priority. This second addition of SoIB 2023, which is coming after a gap of three years, is based on much larger information, around 30million field observations from over 30,000 birdwatchers spanning across the country, enabling more species to be assessed. It was 867 species in the year 2020 to 942 species in 2023.
The International Union For Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List shows that 49% of bird species are declining worldwide, compared with only 6% increasing. In India generalist species like Feral Rock Pigeon, Ashy Prinia, Asian Koel and Indian Peafowl are doing well. Other common species like Baya Weaver and Pied Bushchat are relatively stable. But the larger picture is grim 60% of species are showing long term decline and 40% of special are currently declining.
According to the habitats Specialist, Birds of grasslands and other open habitats, wetlands and woodlands are declining rapidly. In terms of diet carnivores, insectivores and granivores are declining rapidly than omnivores or nectar eaters. The Species endemic to the western Ghats- Srilanka region are faring worse than others. Some kinds of Birds are faring particularly poorly including Bustards, coursers, riverine sandbar, some nestling birds, open country raptors, shoe-birds and a number of ducks. The report says that large number of Birds species are in trouble and is a cause of concern for the country.
State of India’s Birds (SoIB) 2023 is a partnership of 13 premiere institutions of the country, six government institutions and seven conservation NGos together with a number of independent professionals.