Fewer bird species spotted at Soor Sarovar this winter

Due to global climate change impact, a smaller number of bird species diversity was recorded this year in winter, according to ecologists.
River Lawping at Soor Sarovar wetland (HT)
River Lawping at Soor Sarovar wetland (HT)
Published on Jan 16, 2022 11:54 PM IST
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Agra The Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) 2022 at Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary in Agra recorded lesser water bird species diversity this year, compared to past years. There were only 60 water bird species recorded at this Ramsar site and 2,861 birds, including long distant winter migratory birds, were recorded this year. This figure of 2861 included 28 resident species, 32 migratory species and 8 IUCN Red-listed threatened species.

When compared, there were 70 species of water birds’ diversity in 2021 and the total number was 5,249 which included 33 species of resident birds, 37 species of migratory water birds and 9 species of IUCN Red-listed Threatened water birds at Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary in Agra.

“Water birds are one of the key indicators of wetland’s health and provide four kinds of ecological services. Wetlands provide feeding, resting, roosting and foraging habitats for these charismatic species,” informed T K Roy, ecologist, conservationist and state coordinator for Asian Waterbird Census (AWC), Wetlands International.

“In collaboration with the National Chambal Sanctuary Project, Uttar Pradesh Wildlife Department and conservation support from Biodiversity Research & Development Society, Agra and in active participation of the volunteers from Dr B R Ambedkar University, Agra, Wildlife SOS, Agra and sanctuary wildlife staffs, AWC 2022 was successfully carried out at Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary wetland on January 14, ” informed Roy.

“Due to global climate change impact, i.e. delayed winter, accordingly slow, delayed migration and lesser migration of winter migratory water birds (usually from far Central Asia, North Asia including Russia and Siberia) a smaller number of bird species diversity was recorded this year in comparison to previous years almost everywhere in northern India,” he stated.

“As per global climate change impact this year, winter was delayed and accordingly migration was slow and lesser in almost entire northern India. Further, due to late but good monsoon, several dried wetlands were revived and migratory water birds widely distributed to better wetlands. Hence, some of the prominent wetlands have lesser species diversity and total migratory population, including Soor Sarovar,” informed Roy.

This time, species diversity partially decreased from 70 to 60 here and the population decreased from 5249 to 2861 in comparison to 2021.

Roy informed that Wetlands International’s largest annual waterbird census, “Asian Waterbird Census” (AWC) 2022 started January 1 across Asia & Australasia simultaneously and concluded on January 16.

Soor Sarovar Wildlife Sanctuary is a unique wetland for water birds located on the bank of river Yamuna in Agra district. It’s one of 467 IBA Sites (Important Bird & Biodiversity Area) in India having rich birdlife diversity, especially for winter migratory water birds for congregation, roosting and good nesting/breeding habitat.

In all, 442 Pelicans (Great White Pelican & Dalmatian Pelican) were recorded this year at Soor Sarovar Wildlife Sanctuary and this was highest number after many years, even more than any protected areas in northern India, including the UNESCO Site Keoladeo Ghana National Park.


    Hemendra Chaturvedi is based in Agra serving as a Principal Correspondent, covering districts of Agra and Aligarh division of western Uttar Pradesh. He has been with HT since 1992 and has completed 25 year of association with HT.

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