79 Indian birds on decline but peafowls increase Report

    Gandhinagar, Feb 18 (PTI) There has been a decline in
population of 79 per cent of Indian species of birds as per
the assessment of current trends, but there is also some good
news as the number of Indian peafowls (national bird peacock)
has shown a dramatic rise, says a report.
    Besides, the number of house sparrows has remained
"roughly stable" across the country. Its population has gone
up in rural areas, although declining in metropolitan cities,
according to the State of India's Birds Report 2020.
    The report was released here on sidelines of the 13th
Conference of Parties to the Convention on Conservation of
Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP 13) on Monday.
    It said that while assessing the status of 867 Indian
birds, 79 per cent, for which current trends could be
assessed, and 50 per cent, for which long-term trend could be
assessed, have shown a decline.
    In all, 101 species have been classified as of "high
conservation concern".
    As for the Indian peafowl, the abundance trend is that
of a general increase, both in long-term and currently, the
report said.
    "Some parts of the country report greater levels of
crop damage by peafowl, a trend that calls for careful
conflict assessment and management," it mentioned.
    As for the house sparrows, despite the widespread
notion that it is declining in India, the analysis suggests
that the species has been "fairly stable overall during the
past 25 plus years," it said.
    However, data from the six largest metro cities
(Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai)
does indicate a "gradual decline" in their abundance in urban
centres, it added.
    Using data uploaded by birdwatchers on the online
platform eBird, "the analysis indicates that 48 per cent of
species have remained stable or are increasing in the long-
term (over 25 plus years), while 79 per cent show a decline in
the last five years," the report said.
    Of the 146 species for which current annual trends
could be estimated, nearly 80 per cent are declining, with
almost 50 per cent declining strongly, it said.
    The groups that show the greatest decline are raptors,
migratory shorebirds and habitat specialists, among others.
    The report relies on over 10 million observations
contributed by over 15,500 birdwatchers.
    The assessment is based on three indices - two of
change in abundance: long-term trend (over 25+ years) and
current annual trend (over the past five years), and the third
is a measure of distribution range size.
    "Of the 261 species for which long-term trends could
be determined, 52 per cent have declined since the year 2000,
with 22 per cent declining strongly. In all, 43 per cent of
species showed a long-term trend that was stable and five per
cent showed an increasing trend," the report said.
    The current annual trends could be estimated for 146
species. Of these, nearly 80 per cent are declining, with
almost 50 per cent declining strongly, it said.
    "Just over six per cent are stable and 14 per cent
increasing. The range size of all but six species were
estimated," it added.
    Using these three indices together with the IUCN
Red List (of threatened species), each species was classified
into categories of conservation concern for India: 442 in low
concern category, 319 in moderate concern category and 101 in
high concern category.
    The report is a result of collaboration between 10
research and conservation organisations, including the Ashoka
Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment, Bombay Natural
History Society, Wildlife Institute of India, World Wide Fund
for Nature India, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural
History and Wetlands International South Asia, among others.

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)