5% of birds in India are endemic: ZSI
A recent publication by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) points out that about 5% of birds found in the country are endemic and are not reported in other parts of the world.
The publication, titled 75 Endemic Birds of India, was recently released on the 108th foundation day of the ZSI.
Key Findings of the ZSI
- India is home to 1,353 bird species, which represents approximately 12.40% of global bird diversity. Of these 1,353 bird species, 78 (5%) are endemic to the country.
- Out of the 78 species, three species have not been recorded in the last few decades.
- They are the Manipur Bush Quail (Perdicula manipurensis), listed as ‘Endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species with its last recorded sighting in 1907;
- the Himalayan Quail (Ophrysia superciliosa), listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ with its last recorded sighting in 1876; and
- the Jerdon’s Courser (Rhinoptilus bitorquatus), listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ with its last confirmed sighting in 2009.
- The highest number of endemic species have been recorded in the Western Ghats, with 28 bird species.
- Some of the interesting species recorded in the country’s bio-geographic hotspot are the Malabar Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros griseus); Malabar Parakeet (Psittacula columboides); Ashambu Laughing Thrush (Montecincla meridionalis); and the White-bellied Sholakili (Sholicola albiventris).
- 25 bird species are endemic to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- Some interesting bird species which are only found in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are
- Nicobar Megapode (Megapodius nicobariensis);
- Nicobar Serpent Eagle (Spilornis klossi);
- Andaman Crake (Rallina canningi); and
- Andaman Barn Owl (Tyto deroepstorffi).
- Four species of birds are endemic to the Eastern Himalayas, and one each to the Southern Deccan plateau and central Indian forest.
- Of the 78 endemic species, 25 are classified as ‘Threatened’ by the IUCN. Three species (Bugun Liocichla or Liocichla bugunorum; Himalayan Quail or Ophrysia superciliosa; Jerdon’s Courser or Rhinoptilus bitorquatus) are listed as ‘Critically Endangered’.
- Five of the endemic birds in India are categorised as ‘Endangered’, and 17 as ‘Vulnerable’, while 11 are categorised as ‘Near Threatened’ on the IUCN Red List.
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