New Delhi: Water birds are one of the key indicators of wetland’s health and provide four kinds of ecological services. Wetlands provide feeding, resting, roosting, and foraging habitats for these charismatic species.
Wetlands International’s largest annual waterbird census, “Asian Waterbird Census” (AWC) carries out simultaneously in 30 countries across Asia & Australasia including the Indian subcontinent. AWC supports the conservation of wetlands and waterbirds worldwide. AWC data helps to promote the designation and management of internationally important sites such as nationally protected areas, Ramsar Sites, and IBA Sites as well as helps in identifying and protecting new sites of importance for waterbirds. The result of the census and information is also used to promote national waterbird and wetland conservation and international cooperation along the Central Asian Flyway and East Asian – Australasian Flyway.
Sultanpur National Park locates in Gurgaon District in Haryana is a popular destination for bird watching and a new Ramsar site in India supports the habitat for water & terrestrial birds both resident and migratory.
With active support from the park authority AWC 2023 was carried out successfully on 06th Feb 2023 at the park’s wetland by two teams of active volunteers from Delhi and Gurgaon and park staff, in the presence & coordination of the AWC Delhi State Coordinator, Wetlands International South Asia, T K Roy, Ecologist & Conservationist.
AWC is a citizen-science program that supports the conservation of wetlands and water birds globally and it is the important annual water bird census and monitoring of the wetlands provides the data for the “National Action Plan for conservation of Migratory Birds & their habitats along the Central Asian Flyway” of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
TK Roy said "Due to global climate change impact overall migration of the long distant winter migratory birds from far Central Asia, North Asia including Russia and Siberian part delays migration, lesser species diversity and their number either fluctuating or decreasing every year. Even this winter migratory water birds arrival delayed, species diversity and number mostly decreased as recorded almost everywhere in Northern India."
He added "But towards the migration back is the usual trend of the migratory birds flocking together at the prominent wetlands on their way back while the warming climate starts so all of a sudden sometimes Feb onward migratory birds number increases and also some of the wetlands habitat does not have support roosting and feeding together for the migratory water birds. Accordingly, those birds that roost in a safe wetland fly to other wetlands for feeding during day time, and those birds that feed in a wetland that lacks a safe roosting place move to other wetland habitats for roosting during daytime and vise versa surprise to the bird watchers. In Sultanpur too happens so as seeing suddenly more birds during day time for roosting as well as flock together before migrating back. Therefore, we recorded more birds in Feb this time."
During AWC 2023 recorded total species diversity of 51 and a total number of water birds 9,026. Out of 51 species resident species recorded 21 & migratory species 30 including 05 species of IUCN Red-listed threatened birds. Common winter migratory three species Eurasian Coot, Common Teal, and Gadwal led the total count as 9.026.
Among the long distant winter migratory major water bird species whose larger number recorded this year:-
Other migratory species arrived in lesser numbers:-
IUCN Red-listed Threatened Species recorded on this wetland:-
Several other prominent migratory species did not arrive this year