Migratory waterbirds in wetlands of Punjab


  • The unconducive weather conditions in January and early February of 2022 may have made it difficult for the bird lovers this season to conveniently sight the winter migratory waterbirds, which make their way to different wetlands of Punjab and other parts of the country through the central Asian flyway.

Key Details

  • Every winter, the birds make their way to India through the central Asian flyway, which covers a large continental area of Europe–Asia between the Arctic and the Indian Oceans.

    Migratory waterbirds
    Photo: Special Arrangement
  • Every year, the Wildlife Department of Forests and Wildlife Preservation, Punjab, conducts waterbirds census exercise in six major and most biodiverse wetlands, which include the Nangal Wildlife Sanctuary, the Ropar Conservation Reserve, the Harike Wildlife Sanctuary, the Kanjli Wetland, the Keshopur-Miani Community Reserve and the Ranjit Sagar Conservation Reserve.
  • The waterbird count was highest in the Harike Wildlife Sanctuary followed by the Keshopur–Miani Community Reserve, Ropar Conservation Reserve and Nangal Wildlife Sanctuary.

Key Species observed

  • Flocks of northern lapwings numbering up to 191 were observed in Gurdaspur wetlands
  • Common cranes were recorded this year which is higher in comparison to the previous three years
  • The Harike Wildlife Sanctuary hosted the largest congregation and diversity of waterbirds whereas wetlands like Keshopur–Miani and Shallpattan are the only wetlands in Punjab to host the migratory population of common crane and resident population of the Sarus crane.
  • The Ropar and Nangal wetlands host the three migratory water species of the family Podicipedidae i.e., black-necked Grebe, Horned Grebe and Greater Crested Grebe along with the resident Little Grebe.
  • The species of high conservation significance recorded during the survey include Bonelli’s Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, Northern Lapwing, Peregrine Falcon, Steppe Eagle, Western Black-tailed Godwit, Black-headed Ibis, Sarus Crane, Painted Stork, Woolly-necked Stork, Common Pochard, Common Crane, Ferruginous Pochard, Pallid Harrier, River Tern, Indian Spotted Eagle, River Lapwing, Oriental Darter, and Eurasian Curlew.
  • Eurasian Coot was one of the most common waterbirds spotted in almost all protected wetlands of Punjab during the survey.
  • The Eurasian Coot also forms one of the highest densities among all the waterbirds recorded from Nangal, Ropar, Harike, Keshopur–Miani and Kanjli wetland followed by Gadwall and Common Teal

Source: TH

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