Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | 26 August 2017 | 9(8): 10585–10612

 

 

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Birds of the Kerala Agricultural University campus, Thrissur District, Kerala, India - an update

 

 

K. Abha Manohar 1, Arjun Ramachandran 2, M.S. Syamili 3, E.R. Sreekumar 4, Nithin Mohan 5, J. Anjali 6, Abinand Reddy 7 & P.O. Nameer 8

 

 

1,2,3,4,5,6,8 Centre for Wildlife Studies, College of Forestry, Kerala Agricultural University, KAU Main Campus, Thrissur, Kerala 680656, India

7 Nature Conservation Foundation, #561, Kodigehalli, Bengaluru, Karnataka 5600097, India

1 abhamanohark@gmail.com, 2 arjuram123@gmail.com, 3 syamilimanojcof@gmail.com, 4 sreekumarcof@gmail.com,

5 nithinmohancof@gmail.com, 6 anjalijpk437@gmail.com, 7 abinandkr@gmail.com, 8 nameer.po@kau.in (corresponding author)

 

 

 

 

 

doi: http://doi.org/10.11609/jott.2455.9.8.10585-10612 | ZooBank: urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:D38C13B2-AD2B-4E60-B3A2-518DC8AA350C

 

Editor: R. Jayapal, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore, India. Date of publication: 26 August 2017 (online & print)

 

Manuscript details: Ms # 2455 | Received 15 July 2016 | Final received 22 March 2017 | Finally accepted 28 July 2017

 

Citation: Manohar, K.A., A. Ramachandran, M.S. Syamili, E.R. Sreekumar, N. Mohan, J. Anjali, A. Reddy & P.O. Nameer (2017). Birds of the Kerala Agricultural University campus, Thrissur District, Kerala, India - an update. Journal of Threatened Taxa 9(8): 10585–10612; http://doi.org/10.11609/jott.2455.9.8.10585-10612

 

Copyright: © Manohar et al. 2017. 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: Kerala Agricultural University.

 

Competing interests: The authors declare no competing interests.

 

Acknowledgements: We thank Abhirami, C., Abhirami, M.J., Adhithyan, N.K., Aneesh, C.R., Anjitha, D., Ashmi, R., Clareena T. Jose., Jismi, M.O., Jyothi, K., Parvathy, V., Sarath, S., Sachin, K., Sreehari, R. and Vinu, J. for the support in the field. We thank Dileep Anthikkad, Jainy Kuriakose and Sandeep Das for providing the photographs of some of the species of birds used here. We are grateful to Praveen, J. and Suhel Quader for helping with the species identification and compiling eBird database. We also express our gratitude to The Dean, College of Forestry, Kerala Agricultural University for encouragement and support. We also thank the anonymous reviewers and the subject editor for their critical comments which greatly improved the manuscript.

 

 

 

Abstract: An updated checklist of the birds of the Kerala Agricultural University main campus is presented here. The current checklist includes 172 species in 60 families and 17 orders. The campus avifauna includes two Western Ghats endemic species and three globally threatened species. The Kerala Agricultural University main campus also supports 11 species of birds included in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and 16 species that are listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES). Seasonality chart prepared using eBird is also provided for each of the species.

 

 

Keywords: BirdLife International, CITES, eBird, endemism, IUCN, Near-Threatened, Red List, Vulnerable, Western Ghats, Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

 

 

 

 

The Kerala Agricultural University’s (KAU) main campus is located at Vellanikkara, Thrissur District, Kerala (Fig. 1). The area lies between 10.53–10.55 N and 76.27–76.28 E and is located near Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary, Western Ghats. The campus has a total area of 391.44ha and the major habitats include garden lands, botanical garden, plantations of rubber, coconut, plantain, cocoa and orchards of mango, jackfruit, sapota, guava, etc. KAU main campus enjoys an equable climate. The 10-year (2000–2010) mean minimum temperature is 23.30C and mean maximum temperature is 31.80C. The area receives both south-west and north-east monsoons, the greater portion of the rainfall, however, is from the south-west monsoon between June and September. The mean annual rainfall is 2,763mm. The mean number of rainy days per year is 110 days (Fig. 2) (KAU Weather Station 2010).

 

 

Materials and Methods

The birds of KAU main campus have been documented since 1986. The first published systematic list from KAU main campus reported 135 species of birds (Nameer et al. 2000). Since then, more numbers of species have been added to the campus avifauna and more information available on species and their status. Monthly surveys were carried out in the different habitats of the KAU main campus on a regular basis between 2011 and 2014. During this period two hours each were spent in the morning and afternoon and the bird species and numbers were recorded. In addition to this the opportunistic records of the birds were also collected.

We hereby report an updated checklist of the birds of KAU main campus, along with the updated status and breeding information that have been collected since 2000. Most of the data on the birds of the KAU main campus gathered since 1986 has been uploaded into global database - eBird (www.ebird.org) , and the data analysis has been primarily done using eBird. All the eBird lists were reviewed by the coordinators and the reviewed eBird lists were downloaded from the eBird portal until June 2016 (Sullivan et al. 2009; eBird 2012; eBird Basic Dataset 2016). The seasonality graphs were also created from the eBird data. The seasonality data was sectored month-wise, which indicate the percentage of lists where a species is present in all eBird complete-lists from the KAU main campus. The taxonomy and the nomenclature of the birds followed here is based on Praveen (2015).

 

 

 

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Results and Discussion

Thirty-seven birds have been added to the KAU checklist since Nameer et al. (2000), thus making the total number of birds recorded from KAU main campus to 172 species (Table 1), in 17 orders and 60 families, which accounts for 34.4% of the birds representative of Kerala. Out of the 172 birds of the KAU main campus 63 species have been reported to be positively breeding at the KAU main campus. The complete checklist of the birds of KAU main campus, Thrissur, Kerala including the annotated list on the additional species recorded since Nameer et al. (2000) is presented in this paper.

Two species of birds of KAU main campus, namely, the Malabar Grey Hornbill Ocyceros griseus and Crimson-backed Sunbird Leptocoma minima, are endemic to the Western Ghats (Rasmussen & Anderton 2012). The KAU main campus also supports threatened species such as the Vulnerable Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus (BirdLife International 2017), two Near-Threatened species such as Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster (BirdLife International 2016a) and Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus (BirdLife International 2016b). The main campus supports 11 species of birds included in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, 146 species belonging to Schedule IV, and 16 species that are listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES).

The seasonality graph as well as the images for the majority of the birds are given in Images (Images 1–142).

The annotated account on the details of the 37 species of birds since Nameer et al. (2000) is given below.

 

  1. Yellow-legged Green Pigeon Treron phoenicopterus: a pair of Yellow-legged Green Pigeon was observed in March 2013. Subsequently three individuals were photographed in March, 2014 on a Bombax ceiba tree.
  2. Jerdon’s Nightjar Caprimulgus atripennis: This species is regularly heard in the campus and is very vocal during the breeding season, from January to April months.
  3. Brown-backed Needletail Hirundapus giganteus: A single individual was observed on 11 June 2016.
  4. Alpine Swift Tachymarptis melba: Two individuals of Alpine Swift were observed on 12 June 2016 near Krishi Vigyan Kendra.
  5. Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris: A single individual of Drongo Cuckoo was observed on 01 May 2017.
  6. Watercock Gallicrex cinerea: A solitary Watercock was sighted on 07 April 2014 near the pond in the KAU main campus.
  7. Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans: A solitary Asian Openbill was sighted on 05 March 2015 near the pond of the KAU main campus.
  8. Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus: There were only two sightings of this species from KAU main campus, this was first sighted in 2006 and later in February, 2015.
  9. Purple Heron Ardea purpurea: In December 2014, one Ardea purpurea was seen beside the pond of KAU main campus.
  10. Great Egret Ardea alba: Great Egret was first observed on 12 June 2016 near to the pond.
  11. Intermediate Egret Ardea intermedia: The species was first sighted on 23 March 2014.
  12. Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus: Two individuals of Black-headed Ibis were sighted on 13 February 2015.
  13. Indian Cormorant Phalacrocorax fuscicollis: The bird was observed on 02 February 2015 near the pond in the KAU main campus.
  14. Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus: On 26 November 2013, a male Oriental Honey Buzzard was seen perched on the top of ~20 m tall Bombax ceiba tree in the KAU main campus.
  15. Malabar Grey Hornbill Ocyceros griseus: This species was first sighted from the KAU main campus in 2011 and there exist some stray reports in subsequent period. However, the photographic evidence of the bird was secured on 14 November 2015, when a flock of five birds were seen in the KAU mango orchard, where a Ficus exasperata tree was in fruit. All the Malabar Grey Hornbill sightings from the campus were between August and December. Though a forest dependent bird, the Malabar Grey Hornbill has been recorded from the large sacred groves of north Kerala, and there were also few stray records from well wooded areas of Kozhikode, Malappuram, Kottayam and Wayanad districts (Sashikumar et al. 2011).
  16. Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx erithaca: This bird was first sighted from KAU main campus in December 2008, and was again sighted on 25 June 2009 at the same place. Both these instances only a single bird was sighted.
  17. Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus: The species was sighted on 15 February 2016 in KAU main campus.
  18. Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis: A solitary Black-naped Oriole was photographed on 05 May 2012, on a Tectona grandis tree in the campus.
  19. Large Woodshrike Tephrodornis virgatus: This was sighted on 10 November 2013 and 15 November 2015.
  20. Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea: The Black-naped Monarch was observed and photographed from the KAU Botanical Garden in November 2012. Subsequently, a pair was found involved in nest building in August 2014. The male was bringing nest building material, probably mosses. The cup-shaped nest was at a height of about 3m from the ground on a Ficus exasperata tree. The normal breeding season of the Black-naped Monarch is from March to June, occasionally extending to August (Sashikumar et al. 2011; Rasmussen and Anderton 2012).
  21. Crimson-backed Sunbird Leptocoma minima: During the monsoon months few individuals of Crimson-backed Sunbirds have been regularly seen in the KAU main campus. Santharam (1996) has also reported the monsoon movements of the Crimson-backed Sunbird from the Peechi-Vazhani WLS to KAU main campus.
  22. Asian Fairy-bluebird Irena puella: On 13 December 2014, a pair of Asian Fairy-bluebirds was observed from the KAU main campus. Though regarded as a forest-dependent species, this species was sighted from the sacred groves of northern Kerala, and there was a record of Asian Fairy-Bluebird from the Calicut University campus.
  23. Black-headed Munia Lonchura malacha: In January 2012, three individuals of Black-headed Munia were sighted from KAU main campus. There were two more additional sightings in February 2015, when a single bird was sighted and March 2015, when four birds were recorded.
  24. Common Rosefinch Erythrina erythrina: On 13 December 2014, a flock of one male and six female Common Rosefinch was sighted from the KAU main campus.
  25. Cinereous Tit Parus cinereus: On 6 May 2013, a flock consisting of six individuals of Cinereous Tit was seen among the foliage of a Macaranga peltata tree at the Botanical Garden, KAU main campus. Since then Cinereous Tit has been sighted regularly from the campus.
  26. Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis: On 29 November 2012, a solitary Zitting Cisticola was observed on an electric line of the KAU main campus. Subsequently the bird was sighted on a few other occasions also.
  27. Ashy Prinia Prinia socialis: Sighted on 14 February 2015 from near the pond of the KAU main campus
  28. Plain Prinia Prinia inornata: Sighted on 23 March 2014 from near the pond of the KAU main campus
  29. Yellow-browed Bulbul Acritillas indica: Sighted solitary Yellow-browed Bulbul on 7 August 2015.
  30. Tawny-bellied Babbler Dumetia hyperythra: On 18 August 2014, two individuals of Tawny-bellied Babbler from the KAU main campus.
  31. Puff-throated Babbler Pellorneum ruficeps: A single individual of Puff-throated Babbler was sighted from KAU main campus on 16 November 2015.
  32. Velvet-fronted Nuthatch Sitta frontalis: On 16 August 2014, four nuthatches were sighted from the rubber plantations of KAU main campus. This species has not been recorded from outside the forest zone (Sashikumar et al. 2011), and thus the sighting is of interest.
  33. Hill Myna Gracula religiosa: Perhaps the first sighting of the Hill Myna from the KAU main campus was on 11 August 2013, when a flock of eleven individuals of Hill Myna was sighted and photographed on the top canopy of a Michelia champaka tree in fruiting. Hill Mynas were since then seen quite regularly from the KAU main campus.
  34. Brown-breasted Flycatcher Muscicapa muttui: On 10 November 2013, a Brown-breasted Flycatcher was sighted at the Botanical Garden, KAU and later it was photographed on 22 November 2013. The bird has been seen more or less regularly during the winter months (between September to April) since then from the campus.
  35. Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher Cyornis tickelliae: This species was first observed on 19 March 2017.
  36. Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassinus: A solitary Verditer Flycatcher was sighted on 12 November 2013, and was also photographed from the KAU Botanical Garden. The bird was seen on a Polyalthia longifolia tree.
  37. Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata: Pied Bushchat was observed on 10 June 2016.

 

Conclusion

This once again reiterates the significance of the academic campuses in conserving the biological diversity at a regional level. Earlier studies on the fauna of KAU main campus recorded 139 species of butterflies (Aneesh et al. 2013), 52 species of odonates (Adarsh et al. 2014) and 86 species of spiders (Adarsh & Nameer 2015).

References

Adarsh, C.K. & P.O. Nameer (2015). Spiders of Kerala Agricultural University campus, Thrissur, Kerala, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 7(15): 8288–8295; http://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.2468.7.15.8288-8295

Adarsh, C.K., K.S. Aneesh & P.O. Nameer (2014). A preliminary checklist of odonates in Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) campus, Thrissur District, Kerala, southern India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 6(8): 6127–6137; http://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o3491.6127-37

Aneesh, K.S., C.K. Adarsh & P.O. Nameer (2013). Butterflies of Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) campus, Thrissur, Kerala. India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 5(9): 4422–4440; http://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o2870.4422-40

BirdLife International (2017). Ciconia episcopus. (amended version published in 2016) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22727255A110064997. http://doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-1.RLTS.T22727255A110064997.en. Downloaded on 17 August 2017.

BirdLife International (2016a). Anhinga melanogaster. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22696712A93582012. http://doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22696712A93582012.en. Downloaded on 17 August 2017.

BirdLife International (2016b). Threskiornis melanocephalus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22697516A93618317. http://doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22697516A93618317.en. Downloaded on 17 August 2017.

eBird (2012). eBird: An online database of bird distribution and abundance [web application]. eBird, Ithaca, New York. Available: http://www.ebird.org. Downloaded on 09 December 2015.

eBird Basic Dataset. Version: EBD relJune-2016 (2016). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Downloaded on 15 June 2016.

Jyothi, K.M. & P.O. Nameer (2015). Birds of sacred groves of northern Kerala, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 7(15): 8226–8236; http://doi.org/10.11609/jott.2463.7.15.8226-8236

Nameer, P.O., R.N. Resmi, K.R. Anoop, G.N. Smitha, R. Lekshmi & P. Radhakrishnan (2000). Birds of Kerala Agricultural University Campus, Thrissur. Zoo’s Print Journal 15(4): 243–246; http://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.ZPJ.15.4.243-6

Praveen, J. (2015). A checklist of birds of Kerala, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 7(13): 7983–8009; http://doi.org/10.11609/jott.2001.7.13.7983-8009

Rasmussen, C.P. & J.C. Anderton (2012). Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. 2nd Edition, Vol. 2. Ingoprint, Barcelona, Spain, 684pp.

Santharam, V. (1996). Seasonal movements in Small Sunbird (Nectarinia minima) and Emerald Dove (Chalcophas indica). Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 93(2): 296–297.

Sashikumar, C., J. Praveen, J. Palot & P.O. Nameer (2011). Birds of Kerala: Status and Distribution. DC Books, Kottayam, India, 844pp.

Sullivan, B.L., C.L. Wood, M.J. Iliff, R.E. Bonney, D. Fink & S. Kelling (2009). eBird: a citizen-based bird observation network in the biological sciences. Biological Conservation 142: 2282–2292.

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