The number of endangered bird species in the country has risen to 154 from 149 two years ago, a recent study has said.
A joint study by BirdLife International and Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) attributes the rapid decline in the bird population to habitat destruction.
"Destruction of habitat is the prime reason behind the fall in their numbers. According to studies, the condition of
Great Slaty Woodpecker has deteriorated from 'Least Concern' to 'Vulnerable' while that of Rufous-backed Bunting has fallen from 'Vulnerable' to 'Endangered'," BNHS director Asad Rahmani said here on Wednesday.
"It is extremely alarming that almost 13 per cent of world's bird population is either 'critically endangered', 'endangered' or 'vulnerable'. Great Slaty Woodpecker is an addition from India into the 'vulnerable' category, primarily
due to habitat loss," Rahmani said.
"The fact that now 154 bird species from India are threatened, as against 149 in 2008, is an indicator of further deterioration of their living environment," he said.
In light of the alarming situation, the BNHS strongly urges the Government to start special programmes for protection of birds and their habitats, Rehmani said.
BNHS has identified 466 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) across India, which are crucial for bird habitats.
"At present 200 among them are not officially protected. All such areas should be protected and local communities involved in conservation measures," he said.
Rahmani, who is also a member of the Global Council of BirdLife and Chairman of BirdLife Asia Council, said that supposedly common species in India like Nilgiri Blue Robin and White-bellied Blue Robin have been included in the endangered category.
He added that Himalayan Quail and Pink-headed Duck are considered extinct in India since they have not been seen for nearly 100 years.
"However, there is still hope to rediscover these birds, they have been included in the critically endangered category."