15 Indian bird species critically endangered

These species have been uplisted in nearly threatened (NT) and vulnerable (VU) categories. Earlier, these birds were classified under least concern (LC) category which means they were not in the danger zone

15 Indian bird species critically endangered

Mumbai : Even as conservation efforts at various levels continue to show hope for the future, the latest International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Birds (2013) shows that fifteen bird species in India continue to be Critically Endangered (CR). 

Moreover, three other bird species now face greater danger than before. These species have been uplisted in nearly threatened (NT) and vulnerable (VU) categories. Earlier, these birds were classified under least concern (LC) category which means they were not in the danger zone. In India, organisations such as BNHS-India play a crucial role in researching and collating such information, as the BirdLife International (UK) country partner, which helped in searching the facts.
The species falling under the critically endangered category in India include migratory wetland species: Baer’s Pochard, Siberian Crane and Spoon-billed Sandpiper; non-migratory wetland species such as White-bellied Heron; grassland species like Bengal Florican, Great Indian Bustard, Jerdon’s Courser and Sociable Lapwing; Forest Owlet and scavengers as Indian Vulture, Red-headed Vulture, White-backed Vulture and Slender-billed Vulture.
Studies by BNHS and other organizations on factors contributing the most to the decline of several bird species reveal that just like wetlands, most other habitats such as grasslands and forests also face severe threat due to the developmental pressures. Drastic loss of grassland habitat over the past decades has severely threatened species such as Great Indian Bustard, Bengal Florican and Jerdon’s Courser. Destruction of deciduous forests in central India has led to the decline in Forest Owlet numbers. Even destruction of forests in the fragile Western Ghats and Himalaya continue to endanger the existence of many other species (see list). Other reasons include incidence of chemical components as in the case of diclofenac’s effect of vulture species.
Commenting on the state of affairs, BNHS-India Director, Dr Asad Rahmani said, “There is an urgent need to conserve the remaining habitats and species dependent on them, based on insightful scientific field research. Policies that ensure this through sustainable development should be framed and implemented urgently”.

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