Endangered avian species find refuge at Pune’s endangered Dr Salim Ali bird sanctuary

Asian Waterbird Census reveals Painted stork and the Woolly necked stork, declared endangered globally, seen in sanctuary
Near Threatened Painted Stork seen at the sanctuary.(HT/PHOTO)
Near Threatened Painted Stork seen at the sanctuary.(HT/PHOTO)
Updated on Jan 29, 2019 04:52 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Pune | By

Even as Dr Salim Ali bird sanctuary is under threat with trees being cut indiscriminately and a road being built though the sanctuary, it continues to be a haven for at least 600 bird species. Two bird species, the Painted stork and the Woolly necked stork, which have been declared endangered globally, find refuge in this bird sanctuary.

A census was conducted on the birds in the Dr Salim Ali bird sanctuary as part of the annual Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) between January 5 and January 20, 2019. Asian Waterbird Census is part of the Global International Waterbird Census (IWC).

The census is being jointly coordinated by Bombay Natural History Society and Wetlands International.

AWC is a citizen - science programme which focuses on monitoring the status of waterbirds and wetlands. It also aims to increase public awareness on issues related to wetland and waterbird conservation.

The Asian Waterbird Census was started in 1987 and it brought together birders for counting and monitoring the water birds.

Adil Hussain Ali,an entrepreneur, bird enthusiast and student of Ornithology was part of the census at the sanctuary on January 20, 2019. He covered 2.68 kilometres in 117 minutes reporting a total of 61 species of birds. “I selected the section between the Bund Garden bridge and the Kalyani Nagar bridge, which sees a high count of winter birds and water bird species. I was amazed to see such a high count of birds in this habitat,” said Adil.

Adil covered the Mula-Mutha river stretch between the Bund garden bridge (Yerwada Bridge) and the Kalyaninagar Bridge (HH Aga Khan Bridge) which is at least 46.4 hectares.

Great Cormorant seen at the sanctuary (HT/PHOTO)
Great Cormorant seen at the sanctuary (HT/PHOTO)

“The habitat is a Riverine wetland, where Avifauna is flourishing. It needs to be conserved. There are artificial small dams and the river is passing through a highly rocky stretch creating perch for visiting birds. The vegetation is mainly water hyacinth, reeds and Acacia trees. The river is also under threat from increasing pollutants, untreated sewage water and urbanisation. It is along this stretch that Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is located,” he said.

According to Adil, there were flocks of Black-headed Ibis, Jungle Mynas, Ruddy Shelduck, resident Indian Spot-billed Duck, Gadwall and Green-winged Teal, besides pair of Northern Shoveler and two Woolly-necked Storks.

“The habitat belonged to the Red-wattled Lapwings that were well spread across the region. There were also good number of black-winged Stilts and Common Redshank,” he said.

“AWC is conducted every year to understand the status of important habitats, the population trend of wetland and wetland-related species as well as to identify new sites for waterbirds. There are 37 sites in Maharashtra which are being consistently monitored during the census,” said Tuhina Katti, member, Wetlands International, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).

Every year, open access reports are made on the status of waterbirds recorded in the census. This is a tool for identifying the species showing noticeable decline and also to address conservation issues.

A red-breasted Flycatcher seen at the sanctuary. (HT/PHOTO)
A red-breasted Flycatcher seen at the sanctuary. (HT/PHOTO)

The Asian Woolly-necked stork (Ciconia episcopus) has been listed as vulnerable as its numbers are rapidly coming down due to habitat loss and persecution, said Katti. According to Wetlands International 2014, the population of Woolly-necked stork has been estimated to be 35,000.

The Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala) has been classified as Near Threatened species. Its population is moderately declining owing to hunting, wetland drainage and pollution. It frequents freshwater marshes, lakes and reservoirs, flooded fields, rice paddies, irrigation canals, freshwater swamp forest, river banks, intertidal mud flats and salt pans.

Who’s visiting Dr Salim Ali bird sanctuary

The bird sanctuary continues to be a haven for at least 600 bird species in spite of trees being cut indiscriminately and a road being built through it

Asian Waterbird Census

The Asian Waterbird Census (AWC), a part of the global international waterbird census (IWC), is a citizen-science programme that focuses on monitoring the status of waterbirds and wetlands. It also aims to increase public awareness on issues related to wetland and waterbird conservation.

1987 - The project ‘Asian Waterbird Census’ was started which brought together many birders into counting and monitoring the water birds.

January 5 to January 20, 2019 - Waterbird census was conducted

Stakeholders

Asian waterbird census

Bombay Natural History Society

Wetlands International

, a bird enthusiast. (HT/PHOTO)
, a bird enthusiast. (HT/PHOTO)

Adil Hussain Ali, a bird enthusiast and student of Ornithology conducted the census at the bird sanctuary on January 20, 2019. 2.68 kilometres covered in 117 minutes reporting a total of 61 species of birds.

“I was amazed to see such a high count on this habitat. I selected the section between the Bund Garden bridge and the Kalyani Nagar bridge, which sees a high count of winter birds and water bird species. I was amazed to see such a high count of birds in this habitat, “ said Adil Hussain Ali, a bird enthusiast and student of Ornithology.

List of birds sighted at Salim Ali bird sanctuary

84 Ruddy Shelduck

2 Northern Shoveler

86 Gadwall -

130 Indian Spot-billed Duck -

136 Green-winged Teal -

4 Gray Francolin

X Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)

4 Laughing Dove

2 Greater Coucal (Southern)

2 Asian Koel

2 Asian Palm-Swift

8 Eurasian Coot

4 Gray-headed Swamphen

1 White-breasted Waterhen

114 Black-winged Stilt

80 Red-wattled Lapwing -- Higher numbers in the eastern section of the river.

8 Ruff

1 Common Sandpiper

4 Green Sandpiper

2 Wood Sandpiper

8 Common Redshank

40 Tringa sp.

1 Whiskered Tern

44 River Tern

2 Woolly-necked Stork

15 Painted Stork

800 Little Cormorant -- 790 flyover late evening

16 Gray Heron

2 Great Egret

5 Intermediate Egret

4 Little Egret

87 Cattle Egret

4 Indian Pond-Heron

1 Black-crowned Night-Heron -- Flyover

3 Glossy Ibis

42 Black-headed Ibis

1 Shikra

24 Black Kite

1 Black Kite (Black)

3 Eurasian Hoopoe

10 Green Bee-eater

3 Coppersmith Barbet

18 Rose-ringed Parakeet

3 Plum-headed Parakeet

2 Black/Ashy Drongo

2 Spot-breasted Fantail

16 Large-billed Crow (Indian Jungle)

1 Cinereous Tit

4 Red-vented Bulbul

1 Greenish Warbler

1 Clamorous Reed Warbler

2 Ashy Prinia

10 Large Gray Babbler

1 Indian Robin

5 Taiga/Red-breasted Flycatcher

2 Brahminy Starling

88 Common Myna

40 Jungle Myna

2 Purple Sunbird

2 Western Yellow Wagtail

3 Indian Silverbill

‘Vulnerable’ Wolly-necked stork seen at the sanctuary. (HT/PHOTO)
‘Vulnerable’ Wolly-necked stork seen at the sanctuary. (HT/PHOTO)

‘Vulnerable’ Wolly-necked stork

The Asian Woolly-necked stork (Ciconia episcopus) has been listed as vulnerable as its numbers are rapidly coming down due to habitat loss and persecution. According to Wetlands International 2014, the population of Woolly-necked stork has been estimated to be 35,000.

‘Near Threatened’ Painted Stork

The Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala) has been classified as Near Threatened species. Its population is moderately declining owing to hunting, wetland drainage and pollution. It frequents freshwater marshes, lakes and reservoirs, flooded fields, rice paddies, irrigation canals, freshwater swamp forest, river banks, intertidal mud flats and salt pans.

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