Avifauna of Surajpur Wetland, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India


Nasim Ahmad Ansari 1 & Asghar Nawab 2


1 Wildlife Institute of India, P.O. Box # 18, Chandrabani, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India

2 World Wide Fund for Nature-India, 172-B Lodi Estate, New Delhi, India

1 nasim@wii.gov.in (corresponding author), 2 anawab@wwfindia.net





doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o3519.7776-85 | ZooBank: urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:CE25C81B-6113-4BDB-BD05-3DC896213156


Editor: Nishith Dharaiya, HNG University, Patan, India. Date of publication: 26 September 2015 (online & print)


Manuscript details: Ms # o3519 | Received 05 February 2013 | Final received 31 August 2015 | Finally accepted 05 September 2015


Citation: Ansari, N.A. & A. Nawab (2015). Avifauna of Surajpur Wetland, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 7(11): 7776–7785; http://dx.doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o3519.7776-85


Copyright: © Ansari & Nawab 2015. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.


Funding: Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority, Uttar Pradesh.


Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no competing interests.


Acknowledgements We thank the Forest Department, Gautam Budh Nagar for allowing the collection of data and for providing support during field visits. We are thankful to the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority, Uttar Pradesh for funding the study. We are grateful to Mr. Ravi Singh (Secretary General & CEO, WWF-India) and Dr. Sejal Worah (Programme Director, WWF-India) for providing support and encouragements for this study. The help rendered by the field staff and our colleagues at the WWF-India Secretariat is highly appreciated. The anonymous reviewers are thanked for reviewing the manuscript.





Abstract: The present communication highlights the significant record of avifauna of the Surajpur Wetland, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh and forms the first record of its kind. The study was conducted during March 2010 to February 2013. During the study period, a total of 186 bird species belonging to 44 families were recorded. Of these 59% (n=109) were residents, 27% (n=51) were winter migrants, 13% (n=25) were summer migrants and only one percent (n=1) were passage migrants. Based on the frequency of sightings, 46% (n=85) bird species were common, 26% (n=49) fairly common, 17% (n=32) uncommon and 11% (n=20) rare. The mosaic of habitat types within the wetland serves as an ideal refuge for avifauna. Also the wetland holds potential of being developed into a green area in the Delhi-NCR region; management intervention needs to be concentrated towards this objective.

Keywords: Avifauna, Greater Noida, Surajpur Wetland, Uttar Pradesh.



Wetland ecosystem forms an important environment for aquatic, semi-aquatic and moisture loving floral and faunal associations (Adhikari & Babu 2008). The world’s wetlands are increasingly receiving due attention as they contribute to a healthy environment in several ways. Wetlands are also described as the ‘kidney of landscape’ because of their role in the hydrological cycle, nutrient cycle and food chain (Mitsch & Gosselink 1993) or as ‘biological supermarkets’ as the water saturated soil of wetlands possesses high species diversity and form a crucial incubator for a large number of aquatic species (Allen-Diaz et al. 2004).

Through the ages, urban wetlands have been the lifeline of most cities in India. They are found all over the country and are either natural or have been built by people (Water Contents 2011). Urban wetlands provide multiple values for suburban and city dwellers (Castelle et al. 1994). The capacity of a functional urban wetland in flood control, aquatic life support, and as a pollution sink implies a greater degree of protection. These wetlands provide a resource base for people dependent on them (Ramachandran 2001). In terms of urban biodiversity, wetlands form an important area in supporting species diversity and to regulate the ecological web. Surveys of waterbirds on urban wetlands received very little attention. Although most urban wetlands are considered to be extremely polluted areas, they still attract a large number of winged visitors (Reginald et al. 2007).

Surajpur Wetland is an excellent example of an urban wetland in the National Capital Region of India. Very few studies have been attempted to investigate the urban wetlands in India (Urfi 2003) and the growing need for their conservation. Surajpur wetland provides an opportunity to protect biodiversity and set an example of how wildlife can be protected and preserved close to urban areas without hindering the development of the same. It will not only provide people an opportunity to experience the uniqueness of the area and the species it attracts, but also make them more environmentally conscious (Ansari 2009).


Study Area

Surajpur Wetland (28031.425’N & 77029.714’E) is situated in the Dadri Tehsil of Gautam Budh Nagar District, Uttar Pradesh and located within a distance of only 28.6km from Ashram Chowk, Delhi (Fig. 1). The wetland falls in the Gangetic Plain Biogeographic Zone (Rodgers et al. 2002) at an elevation of 184.7m. The area is a reserve forest and spreads over 308ha that includes 60ha of natural wetland. The area is flat terrestrial with shallow to deep wetland area. The soil is fine grained called lacustrine soil and the vegetation is of tropical dry deciduous type (Champion & Seth 1968). The area have been divided into three major habitats namely woodland, grassland and wetland (Fig. 2; Images 1–3). Woodland includes Phoenix sylvestris, Terminalia arjuna, Syzigium cumini and Prosopis juliflora; grassland are dominant with Sachharum sp., Vetiveria zizanioides and Desmostachya bipinnata; whereas wetland includes clear water with submerged aquatic vegetation of Certaophyllum demersum, Hydrilla verticillata, Vallisneria spiralis; emergent aquatic vegetation of Eichhornea crassipes, Alternanthera philoxeroides, Ipomoea sp., Typha angustata; and marshland with Phoenix sylvestris, Terminalia arjuna, Syzygium cumini vegetation (Fig. 2). This mosaic of habitats serves as an ideal refuge for the nesting of resident as well as migratory waterbirds.

Surajpur Wetland is mainly rain-fed. Other sources for water recharge are the catchment area of Hawaliya drain which is attached to Hindon River and the irrigation canal of Tilapta Minor, which originates from Kulesra Bund, Hindon River. The general climate is tropical monsoon type and the south-west monsoons are the main source of rainfall. Maximum rainfall occurs from July to October ranging from 400–500 mm. During the monsoons the catchment area is full of water and the inundated area extends up to 108ha. However, during summer the major portion of the wetland remains dry and the inundated area recedes to 30–40 ha.











The study area was broadly categorised into different habitats (i.e., grassland, woodland and wetland) on the basis of the predominant vegetation type. Observations on the avifauna were made for a period of three years i.e. from March 2010 to February 2013. The data was collected on a fortnightly basis and a total of 72 surveys were made during the study period. Regular surveys were done by systematic walking on fixed routes through the study area in terrestrial habitats (woodland and grassland) while 10 vantage points were selected in the 10 blocks of wetland, one in each block respectively to facilitate easy count of the birds. These vantage points were identified on the basis of visibility and size of the blocks. Birds were mostly observed during the most active period of the day, i.e., from 0600–1000 hr and from 1600–1800 hr. However, observations were also made other than the survey timings to locate the illusive taxa. Nikon binoculars of 10x50 X’ specification was used for sighting birds and the species were confirmed by consulting standard field guides (Grimmett et al. 2000; Ali 2002) and the nomenclature followed Manakadan & Pittie (2001). The status of birds was categorized as resident (R), winter migrant (WM), summer migrant (SM) and passage migrant (PM) following Ali & Ripley (1972, 1983). The abundance status of the recorded bird species was established on the basis of frequency of sightings following Kumar & Gupta (2009) as, common recorded 9–10 times out of 10 visits, fairly common recorded 6–8 times out of 10 visits, uncommon recorded 3–5 times out of 10 visits, and rare recorded 0–2 times out of 10 visits.





Results and Discussion

The study reveals the occurrence of a total of 186 bird species belonging to 44 families (Table 1). The list of birds of Surajpur Wetland and their common, scientific names, status and abundance is reported in Table 2. Of these 59% (n=109) were resident, 27% (n=51) were winter migrant, 13% (n=25) were summer migrant and only one percent (n=1) were passage migrant. Based on the frequency of sightings, 46% (n=85) bird species were common, 26% (n=49) fairly common, 17% (n=32) uncommon and 11% (n=20) rare. Among 44 families, Muscicapidae dominated the list with 29 species followed by Anatidae with 18 species; Scolopacidae, Accipitridae with 13 species each; Ardeidae with 11 species; Motacillidae with seven species; Cuculidae with six species; Sturnidae, Rallidae, Hirundinidae, Columbidae, Alaudidae with five species each; Charadridae, Ciconidae, Estrildidae, Passeridae with four species each; Alcedinidae, Corvidae, Laniidae, Phalacrocoracidae, Phasianidae, Strigidae, Threskiornithidae with three species each; Falconidae, Jacanidae, Meropidae, Picidae, Psittacidae, Recurvirostridae with two species each whereas Anhingidae, Bucerotidae, Burhinidae, Campephagidae, Capitonidae, Coracidae, Dicruridae, Gruidae, Nectariniidae, Oriolidae, Podicepedidae, Picnonotidae, Rostratulidae, Titonidae and Upupidae with only one species each respectively.






Surajpur Wetland has been reported as an important breeding and resting ground of threatened birds like Sarus Crane Grus antigone, Bristled Grassbird Chaetornis striata, Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus, Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus. Other important threatened birds recorded were Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus, Bonelli’s Eagle Hieraaetus fasciatus, Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila hastata, Ferruginous Pochard Aythya nyroca and Red-crested Pochard Rhodonessa rufina.

Waterbirds, being generally at or near the top of most wetland food chains are highly susceptible to habitat disturbances and are, therefore, good indicators of the general condition of aquatic habitats (Kushlan 1992; Jayson & Mathew 2002; Kler 2002). The mosaic of habitat types within a wetland helps colonise a wide range of specialist and generalist species (Masing et al. 2000). Surajpur wetlands has been established as a prominent site for wintering birds, this study helps to stress the importance of the area in providing the waterbirds a larger place to congregate. The study area represents the mosaic of habitats which help in supporting a high diversity of plant life and avifauna (Bura et al. 2013; Vardhan 2013). As Surajpur wetland site comes under the purview of the National Capital Region (NCRPB 2013), the study can be used by the National Capital Region Planning Board to develop this area as a green zone or wildlife zone. The study area also serves to promote Surajpur reserve as a good place for eco-tourism, since it is located on the outskirts of Delhi.





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