ENDEMIC BIRDS IN INDIA

Context:

  • A recent publication by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) points out that about 5% of birds found in the country are endemic and are not reported in other parts of the world.
  • The publication, titled 75 Endemic Birds of India, was recently released on the 108th foundation day of the ZSI.

Birds in India:

India is home to 1,353 bird species, which represents approximately 12.40% of global bird diversity. Of these 1,353 bird species, 78 (5%) are endemic to the country.

Report Findings:

  • The publication aims to make information about the country’s endemic birds available to everyone and highlight the efforts to conserve species found only in restricted areas.
  • One of the authors of the publication said that of the 78 species, three species have not been recorded in the last few decades.
  • They are the Manipur Bush Quail (Perdicula manipurensis), listed as ‘Endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species with its last recorded sighting in 1907.
  • The Himalayan Quail (Ophrysia superciliosa), is listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ with its last recorded sighting in 1876.
  • The Jerdon’s Courser (Rhinoptilus bitorquatus), listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ with its last confirmed sighting in 2009.
  • The publication points out that the 75 bird species belong to 11 different orders, 31 families, and 55 genera, and exhibit remarkable distribution patterns across various regions in India.
  • The highest number of endemic species has been recorded in the Western Ghats, with 28 bird species.

Some of the interesting species recorded in the country’s bio-geographic hotspot are:

  1. The Malabar Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros griseus);
  2. Malabar Parakeet (Psittacula columboides);
  3. Ashambu Laughing Thrush (Montecincla meridionalis);
  4. The White-bellied Sholakili (Sholicola albiventris).

What is Endemic Species:

  • Endemism is the condition of being endemic, or restricted in geographical distribution to an area or region.
  • The area or region can vary in size and is defined or identified in different ways. Endemism is an ecological classification in that it describes the range or distribution of a species or group of species.
  • Endemic species are those that are found in just one region and nowhere else in the world.
  • The cases where they have been spotted outside their natural habitat are due to humans introducing them when the animal was in captivity.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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