Census shows only 23 bird species in Yamuna

Only 590 birds counted on Delhi stretch this year

The presence of 23 water bird species with their combined population of 590 was recorded at the Yamuna as part of the Asian Waterbird Census 2016, largest such exercise in Asia and Australasia.

Though the diversity has increased “partially”, the total population of the birds spotted has decreased from 641 to 590 this year.

The census was conducted on January 18 by a team of volunteers on the stretch from Wazirabad Barrage to Nizamuddin Bridge of the Yamuna.

“Yamuna was earlier known to be a paradise for migratory water birds, but their population his being decreasing each year. It is the most polluted and degraded habitat for aquatic wildlife,” said Ecologist T K Roy, also the Delhi state coordinator of the census.

The census of the resident and migratory water birds is carried in the month of January as the migration is completed by this time and the maximum number of species can be found.

According to the census, in the category of the migratory species, two Bar-headed Geese, 92 Brown-headed Gulls, 49 Common Sandpipers, and 33 Ruffs were recorded.
Similarly, in the resident species, 285 Black-winged Stilst and 18 Grey Herons were recorded, among others.

However, according to Roy, the increase in the species from last year can be due to global climatic changes.

“Due to global climatic changes, not all places received monsoon. The seasonal wetlands are shrinking fast or drying up. So, birds choose whatever wetlands they can find, like the polluted Yamuna,” he said.  

Asian Waterbird Census (AWC), is carried out simultaneously once in a year in the month of January across 27 countries by national networks of volunteers and partner organisations, in coordination with national coordinators and state coordinators.

The coordinator network, facilitated by Wetlands International South Asia office, records overall water birds diversity with population and wetland site information, to maintain an overview of the population size, status and trends of water birds each year.

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