41 bird species found in Himachal wetlands

June 12th, 2011 - 5:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, June 12 (IANS) Forty-one waterbird species have been found breeding in the Pong Dam wetlands of Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra Valley, wildlife officials said here Sunday.

“Over 8,000 breeding waterbirds, both local and migratory, of 41 species were recorded during a one-day census carried out by the state wildlife department and the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS),” Chief Wildlife Warden A.K. Gulati told IANS.

BNHS assistant director S. Balachandran also participated in the dawn-to-dusk summer census, conducted for the first time.

Earlier, the wildlife department used to conduct census of waterbirds only in winter when millions of birds from as far as Russia, Poland and China descend across the wetlands.

Gulati said that most of the birds were found in different stages of breeding.

“The estimation is done by recording evidence of breeding such as nests, eggs and chicks.”

The recorded migratory species included the small Pratincole, Little Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Blue-tailed Bee-Eater and Green Bee-Eater.

Range officer of Pong wetlands D.S. Dadwal said the influx of birds were seen in the Nagrota Suriyan, Sathana, Sansarpur Terrace and Rancer Island areas.

The Pong Dam wetlands, some 250 km from Shimla, are also home to many native birds like the red jungle fowl, large Indian parakeet, Indian cuckoo, bank myna, wood shrike, yellow-eyed babbler, black ibis, paradise flycatcher, crested lark and the crested bunting.

The bar-headed goose, the world’s highest-altitude migrant, is a regular winter visitor.

During a two-day bird census by the wildlife department in January this year at the Pong reservoir, over 132,000 migratory waterbirds of 95 species were recorded.

The Pied Avocet - a wading bird species - was spotted for the first time.

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