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State of India’s Bird Report

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August 29, 2023

Why in news?

A large number of bird species in India are either currently declining or projected to decline in the long term, according to a report.

What is State of India’s bird report about?

  • CMS COP 13 - In 2020, at the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species joined the set of countries that regularly assess the status of their birds.
  • They then launched the first report on the State of India’s Birds.
  • Data - The State of India’s Birds report is a periodic assessment of the distribution range, trends in abundance, and conservation status for most of the bird species that regularly occur in India.
  • IUCN data - Based on IUCN Red List of global threat status, this report places Indian species into three categories.

State of India's Birds Report 2023

What are the key highlights of the 2023 report?

  • Decline - India’s birds are facing a significant decline in numbers revealing a silent, gradual change in birds population.
  • High Conservation priority - A large number of species that are thought to be common and widespread find themselves as of High Conservation Priority
  • It means their abundance continues to decline after a considerable drop in the number over the years.
  • Migratory birds - The number of long-distance migrants has declined 50%, with those that breed in the Arctic but winter in India seeing a decline of 80%.
  • Overall analysis -
    1. Decline in raptors, migratory shorebirds, and ducks.
    2. Increase in Indian Peafowl and Asian Koel.

What are the major threats to birds in India?

  • Increase in temperature - The average global temperature has risen by over 1 degree Celsius since pre-industrial times.
  • This has resulted resulting in catastrophic consequences not only for humans but also for other living beings, like birds.
  • Climate change - It affects bird reproduction and survival through the disruption of species interactions by phenological mismatches.
  • It occurs when the timing of annual events like breeding, nesting and migration become out of sync.
  • Mismatches in seasonal timing - It occurs between birds and their prey.
  • This can reduce survival and reproduction and lead to fatal competition with other species.
  • Adaptive changes - Soaring temperatures force sedentary birds to go through rapid adaptive changes.
  • For instance, Amazonian birds over 50 years lost body weight to lose heat more efficiently, the report said.
  • Dangerous interaction - Climate change leads to new and dangerous interactions between different species.
  • Example - In Hawaii, mosquitoes have colonised higher altitudes due to rise in mercury.
  • Urbanisation - As per the report, the most urbanised regions in India have the least number of bird species, the least number of rare species, and the fewest insectivorous species.
  • Pollution - Cities have noise pollution, which forces birds to sing louder, or at different frequencies, or, in the worst case, to abandon otherwise suitable habitat.
  • Light pollution may confuse and disorient them, causing them to collide with buildings.
  • Lack of food - It occurs in urban areas which leads to the homogenisation of bird communities.
  • Monoculture - It is the practice of growing one type of seed in a field at a time.
  • Monocultures is known to harbour fewer bird species than natural forests within the same biome.
  • Death of birds - A wide range of species are known to have been killed due to collisions with wind turbines.
  • Transmission lines - It led to the death of many large-bodies species because of collision and numerous small-bodies species have been electrocuted.

References

  1. Indian Express- Threats to the bird species in India
  2. State of India’s Bird Report- 2023 key highlights and threats
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