State of India’s Birds 2020 (SoIB) Assessment

Context

  • Recently the SoIB was produced using a base of 867 species (among 1,333 birds ever recorded in India), and analysed with the help of data uploaded by birdwatchers to the online platform, eBird.
  • Adequate data on how birds fared over a period of over 25 years (long-term trend) are available only for 261 species.
  • Current annual trends are calculated over a five-year period.

Alarming declines

  • The SoIB assessment raises the alarm that several spectacular birds, many of them endemic to the sub-continent, face a growing threat from loss of habitat due to human activity, widespread presence of toxins including pesticides, hunting and trapping for the pet trade.
  • Diminishing population sizes of many birds because of one factor brings them closer to extinction because of the accelerated effects of others, the report warned.
  • Over a fifth of India’s bird diversity, ranging from the Short-toed Snake Eagle to the Sirkeer Malkoha, has suffered strong long-term declines over a 25-year period.
  • More recent annual trends point to a drastic 80% loss among several common birds.

Various other species mentioned

  • Of 101 species categorised as being of High Conservation Concern — 59 based on range and abundance and the rest included from high-risk birds on the IUCN Red List.
  • Endemics such as the Rufous-fronted Prinia, Nilgiri Thrush, Nilgiri Pipit and Indian vulture were confirmed as suffering current decline.
  • And all except 13 had a restricted or highly restricted range, indicating greater vulnerability to man-made threats.
  • Peafowl, on the other hand, are rising in numbers, expanding their range into places such as Kerala, which is drying overall, and areas in the Thar desert where canals and irrigation have been introduced. Stricter protection for peacocks under law also could be at work.

Source:TH