Journal of Threatened Taxa | www.threatenedtaxa.org | 26 August 2018 | 10(9): 12173–12193

 

 

Diversity and status of avifauna in man-made sacred ponds of Kurukshetra, India

 

Parmesh Kumar 1 & Archna Sharma 2

 

1,2 Department of Zoology, University College, Kurukshetra University, Thanesar, Kurukshetra, Haryana 136119, India

1 parmeshkuk@rediffmail.com (corresponding author), 2 sharma.archna6@gmail.com

 

 

 

doi: https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.3729.10.9.12173-12193   |  ZooBank:  urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:AF8A19E1-DEFD-48B7-8221-7B7373C4F680

 

Editor: Hem S. Baral, Charles Sturt University, Albury-Wodonga, Australia.         Date of publication: 26 August 2018 (online & print)

 

Manuscript details: Ms # 3729 | Received 12 August 2017 | Final received 07 August 2018 | Finally accepted 10 August 2018

 

Citation: Kumar, P. & A. Sharma (2018). Diversity and status of avifauna in man-made sacred ponds of Kurukshetra, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 10(9): 12173–12193; https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.3729.10.9.12173-12193

 

Copyright: © Kumar & Sharma 2018. 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: None.

 

Competing interests: The authors declare no competing interests.

 

Author Details: Dr. Parmesh Kumar is an Associate Professor in Zoology, University College, Kurukshetra University Kurukshetra. His field of research includes wildlife ecology and animal behaviour. Ms. Archna Sharma is a research scholar and pursuing her PhD from Department of Zoology, Kurukshetra University Kurukshetra.

 

Author Contribution: PK and AS conceived and designed the study. AS collected the field data and prepared rough draft of the manuscript. PK guided the research, analyzed the data and wrote the final draft of the manuscript.

 

Acknowledgements: We thank the Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, for providing necessary research facilities. We are grateful to B.L. Saini for identification of flora and Omvir Singh for preparing the map of the study area.

 

 

 

 

Abstract: Located in the Trans-Gangetic Plains of India, Kurukshetra is dotted with a number of man-made, perennial, sacred ponds of great historical and religious importance.  These wetlands also serve as important wintering and stopover sites for birds coming from the Palearctic region.  Surveys were conducted from April 2014 to March 2015 to record the diversity and status of avifauna in four sacred ponds of Kurukshetra. Point counts and direct observations were used to record the bird species.  A total of 126 bird species of 98 genera belonging to 45 families and 16 orders were identified, of which 41 were winter migrants, six were summer migrants, and 79 were residents.  Anatidae (n=15) was the most common family, followed by Ardeidae (n=8), and Motacillidae and Muscicapidae (n=7 each).  Based on the guilds, 37 species were carnivorous, 36 omnivorous, 29 insectivorous, six herbivorous, six frugivorous, five granivorous, four insectivorous/nectarivorous, and three piscivorous.  Of the species recorded, five species are classified as Near Threatened and one species as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species; nine species are listed in Appendix II of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and six species are included in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.  We hope that this study will provide a baseline for future research on monitoring the population and seasonal changes in the bird assemblage of sacred ponds.

 

Keywords: Avifauna, diversity, India, Kurukshetra, sacred ponds, status.

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Wetlands are the most productive biomes in the world (Kumar et al. 2005) and provide the transitional link between aquatic and terrestrial habitats (Torell et al. 2001; Zedler & Kercher 2005).  They have specific ecological characteristics, functions, and values, occupying about 6% of the earth’s surface (Maltby & Turner 1983; Green 1996; Getzner 2002) and providing habitat to a wide array of flora and fauna (Buckton 2007).  Wetlands are, thus, often considered as treasuries of biodiversity within a region or a landscape (Gopal & Sah 1993; Surana et al. 2007).  Birds constitute an important component of the biotic community of wetland ecosystems as they occupy several trophic levels in the food web of wetlands and form the terminal links in many aquatic food chains (Custer & Osborn 1977).  Because of their high mobility, birds respond quickly to changes in their habitats (Morrison 1986); they are, thus, valuable indicators of the ecological health, productivity, trophic structure, human disturbance, and contamination of wetland ecosystems (Custer & Osborn 1977; Subramanya 1996).

India, with its varied topography and climatic regimes, supports diverse and unique wetland habitats that occupy an estimated area of 15.26 million hectares (Panigrahy et al. 2012). Apart from natural wetlands, which support 20% of the known biodiversity of India (Kumar et al. 2005), there are a large number of man-made wetlands that also support rich flora and fauna. It is estimated that there are 5,55,557 small-sized wetlands (<2.25 ha) in the form of village tanks/ponds in India (Panigrahy et al. 2012). These wetlands provide suitable habitats and food resources for a wide variety of birds (Stewart 2007; Ali et al. 2013).  Of the 1,263 bird species reported from India (Praveen et al. 2016), 310 species are known to be dependent on wetlands (Kumar et al. 2005).  Wetlands in India, as elsewhere, however, are under tremendous anthropogenic pressures including encroachment of wetland habitat, unsustainable harvesting of resources, industrial pollution, poisoning, agricultural runoff, eutrophication, siltation, and invasion of alien species (Prasad et al. 2002). These impacts can lead to population declines and changes in community structure of birds (Kler 2002; Verma et al. 2004; Reginald et al. 2007).

Biodiversity inventories or checklists serve as repositories of baseline information on species occurrences, biogeography, and their conservation status (Chandra & Gajbe 2005).  They are essential tools for developing our knowledge and understanding of biodiversity, and often the first step to evolve an appropriate long-term conservation strategy for birds and their habitats (Kumar et al. 2005; Badola & Aitken 2010).

Located in the Trans-Gangetic Plains of India, the landscape of Kurukshetra is dotted with a number of perennial, man-made, sacred wetlands of great historical and religious importance.  A large number of pilgrims and tourists visit these sacred tanks to take a holy dip and perform religious ceremonies.  These wetlands are also potentially important for birds, not only because they provide foraging, roosting, and breeding habitats for resident species, but also for their role as stopover sites or wintering areas for several migrants of the Palearctic region (Kumar et al. 2016).  The avifauna of these sacred wetlands, however, remains poorly known.  Lack of adequate information on bird species inhabiting wetlands greatly limits the development and establishment of effective conservation strategies.  The present study was hence undertaken to make an inventory of bird species that inhabit sacred ponds of Kurukshetra in the Trans-Gangetic Plains of India along with their conservation and residential status.

 

 

MATERIALS AND METHODS

 

Study area

The present study was carried out in four religious ponds: namely, Brahma Sarovar, Jyoti Sarovar, Baan Ganga, and Sannihit Sarovar located in and around Kurukshetra (29.866–30.200 0N & 76.416–77.066 0E), Haryana, in the Trans-Gangetic Plains of India (Fig. 1, Table 1). These ponds are surrounded by human habitations and agricultural fields. The surrounding agriculture fields, with wheat and paddy as main crops, provide extra foraging space and food for certain wetland bird species.  The study area, experiencing sub-tropical climate, has three seasons: rainy (July–September), cool-and-dry (October–February), and the hot-and-dry (March–June); temperature ranges from 3–45 0C and annual rainfall averages to 582mm.  The wetlands support many types of macrophytes that may be grouped into marginal, submerged, floating, and emergent categories, of which Eichhornia crassipes (a deadly invasive) is the dominant free-floating, Hydrilla verticillata the dominant submerged, and Cynodon dactylon the dominant marginal species in the wetlands. Various tree species like Jamun Syzygium cumini, Mango Mangifera indica, Alstonia sp., Acacia Acacia nilotica & Acacia arabica, Neem Azadirachta indica, Jujube Zizyphus jujube, Wild Senna Cassia tora, Banyan Tree Ficus benghalensis, Bodhi Tree or Peepal Ficus religiosa, and the Indian Rosewood Dalbergia sissoo at the banks or in the surroundings of the ponds provide suitable roosting and nesting sites for various bird species.  The ponds are also surrounded by Mesquite Prosopis juliflora, a deadly invasive shrub, and the non-native Eucalyptus sp.

 

Data collection

Bird surveys were conducted at two-week intervals in all the ponds from April 2014 to March 2015, following the point count method (Bibby et al. 2000).  Six to 10 vantage points, at least 250m apart, were selected at the perimeter of each pond, and each point location was surveyed 24 times during the entire study period.  The observer waited for a few minutes after arrival at each station before beginning to count.  This allowed the birds to settle down following the observer’s arrival and 10–20 minutes were spent at each point surveying the birds.  Birds were counted directly, aided by 7x35 Nikon binoculars, during hours of peak activity 0600–1000 hr and 1600–1800 hr.  In addition to these regular surveys, opportunistic records were also collected during other time periods of the day by walking at a slow pace along the bank of selected ponds and recording the species observed.  Field guides (Grimmett et al. 1999; Kazmierczak & Perlo 2000) were used for field identification.  Taxonomy and nomenclature follow Praveen et al. (2016).  For residential status, birds were categorised as resident, winter visitor, and summer visitor on the basis of their presence in the study area (Ali & Ripley 1987).  Feeding guilds were classified on the basis of direct observations and available literature (Ali & Ripley 1987; Grimmett et al. 1999).  For national and global conservation status of recorded avifauna, we followed IWPA (1972), CITES (2012), and IUCN (2017).  The relative abundance (RA) of families was calculated using the following formula as per Torre-Cuadros et al. (2007):

Number of species in a family

RA  =  --------------------------------------------- x 100

Total number of species

 

 

 

 

 

Table 1. Summary of general characteristics of selected sacred ponds

 

 

Sacred Pond

Coordinates

Elevation

(m)

General Features

1.

Brahma Sarovar

29.9500N

&

76.8160E

245

Rich, healthy, and robust perennial pond situated in the heart of Kurukshetra city; one of largest man-made bathing tanks in Asia; divided into two sections,namely, Eastern and Western Brahma Sarovar. The size of Eastern and Western Brahma Sarovar is 548.64× 457.20×4.57 m and 457.20×457.20×4.57 m, respectively; edged with 6.09m wide platforms, stairs, and a 12.19m wide parikrama. Bathing platforms with protective railings have been constructed along the periphery of the tank. Exclusive separate and covered bathing areas have been constructed for use of women pilgrims. The water in the tank is replenished using water from Bhakra irrigation canal. A large number of pilgrims and tourists take holy dips in the tank on auspicious days of the new moon and solar eclipse. To add scenic beauty, the sarovar is decorated on the periphery with lush green lawns, floral beds, and huge trees with thick and dense canopy, which serve as roosting and nesting sites for birds.

2.

Jyoti Sarovar

29.9500N

&

76.7660E

253

Perennial, a series of three closely located ponds at the outskirts of Jyotisar village; one is used by the tourists and local people for holy dip. Size of  Jyoti Sarovar is 393.7x196.8 x 3.7m. The second is used for lotus cultivation, is mainly fed by direct precipitation and run-off from surroundings, is recharged during summer through a feeder canal,and is surrounded by large marshy swamp fed by local village sewage; third is used for cattle drinking and bathing. Both the second and third ponds are heavily infested with water hyacinth.

3.

Baan Ganga

29.9330N

&

76.8000E

254

Perennial, man-made, religious pond located at the outskirts of Dayalpur Village. Size of of Baan Ganga is 258.20x127.6x 3.7m. It is mainly fed by direct precipitation and run-off from surroundings, and is recharged during summer through field channels. The tank is flanked by rural human habituations and agricultural fields. In the vicinity of the sacred pond, there is a rural pond used for cattle drinking and bathing, washing of vehicles, and other domestic purposes.

4.

Sannihit Sarovar

29.9500N

&

76.8330E

244

Perennial, man-made sacred pond in the heart of Kurukshetra city about 1km from Brahma Sarovar, 457.20x137.16 m in size, surrounded by urban human habitation; used by pilgrims for bathing and ‘pinddaan’.

 

 

 

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

 

A total of 126 species of birds belonging to 98 genera, distributed among 45 families and 16 orders were recorded from four sacred ponds of Kurukshetra during the study period (Table 2, Images 1–102).  Of these, 62 species were wetland-associated and the rest were terrestrial.  Of all species recorded, 31 (24.60%) were observed from all the four sacred wetlands, and 95 (75.39%) were recorded from some specific wetlands alone (Table 2).  Passeriformes had the highest diversity with 46 species and 17 families (Fig. 2).  The proportion of species richness of birds by family varied from 0.79–11.90%.  Anatidae, the richest family represented by 15 species, accounted for 11.90% of the total bird species in the study area (Table 3).  Apodidae, Burhinidae, Rostratulidae, Strigidae, Bucerotidae, Upupidae, Picidae, Meropidae, Coraciidae, Campephagidae, Dicruridae, Nectariniidae, Ploceidae, Passeridae, Pycnonotidae, Zosteropidae, and Timaliidae were poorly represented families with a single species in each.  Similarly, Gupta & Kumar(2009) recorded 110 bird species belonging to 41 families and 14 orders from different habitats of Kurukshetra.  For comparison, Alfred et al. (2001) reported 216 wetland bird species from various wetland habitats in the much more expansive Sub-Himalayan Terai and Indo-Gangetic Plains of northern India.  Ducks and geese (Anatidae) are the most copious and remarkable winter migrants to the Indian-subcontinent, and constitute about 85% of the migrant bird populations (Alfred et al. 2001).  These results are in confirmation with findings of earlier workers who have reported Anatidae to be the most dominant family among bird communities in different wetland habitats of Haryana in northern India (Kumar & Gupta 2009, 2013; Tak et al. 2010; Kumar et al. 2016).

Of the 126 species identified, 41 were winter migrants, six were summer migrants, and 79 were residents.  The occurrence of a considerable number of winter migratory species can be attributed partly to the study area being on the Central Asian Flyway and serving as a wintering and stopover site for migratory birds that breed in the Palearctic region (Kumar et al. 2016).  These migratory birds form a major component of the aquatic bird populations in various wetland habitats of northern India (Alfred et al. 2001; Manral et al. 2013; Kumar et al. 2016).  We observed that the majority of the winter migrants stayed in the sacred wetlands from November to February.  The summer visitors, including Cotton Teal Nettapus coromandelianus, Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica, Comb Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos, Pied Cuckoo Clamator jacobinus, Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus, and Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis were spotted during summer season (April–August) in the study area.  Little Cormorant Microcarbo niger and Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus, being common resident species, were recorded in and around the wetlands throughout the year, but their populations augmented due to the influx of migrant birds during the winter season.

Wetland characteristics like size, water depth, quality of water, trophic structure, and presence of suitable roosting and nursery sites influence the abundance and diversity of birds (Wiens 1989; Mukherjee et al. 2002; Ma et al. 2010).  During the study period, species richness was recorded to be the highest at Jyoti Sarovar (n=107), followed by Brahma Sarovar (n=88), Baan Ganga (n=53), and Sannihit Sarovar (n=34).  Generally, habitats with a complex architecture generate greater resources for birds, allowing the persistence of a greater number of species and guilds than in less complex habitats (MacArthur & MacArthur 1961; Tews et al. 2004; Codesido et al. 2013).  In the present study, Jyoti Sarovar wetland, along with the adjacent rural pond, marshy area, and irrigated crop fields, provided a mosaic of habitats leading to multiple and variety of alternative food sources for the birds, and thus registered highest species richness (Aynalem & Bekele 2008).  Brahma Sarovar and Sannihit Sarovar, being located in urban areas of the Kurukshetra City, are more exposed to local people and tourists.  As a result, bird activities like feeding, nesting, hiding, and breeding are affected at these sites.

The quality and quantity of food available is the major factor that determines the spatio-temporal distribution and relative abundance of birds in a given habitat (Wiens 1989; Ma et al. 2010; Jha 2013).  The different species of birds occupying a particular feeding guild and space have evolved specialized foraging strategies to explore and obtain food resources efficiently and thereby to reduce competition (Nudds & Bowlby 1984).  As far as foraging habits of the bird community in the study area are concerned, eight major feeding guilds were identified (Fig. 3).  This representation of major trophic guilds in the area indicated that the area holds a wide spectrum of food resources for birds.  The carnivore guild was the most abundant one with 37 species followed by omnivore (36), insectivore (29), herbivore (six), frugivore (six), granivore (five), insectivore/nectarivore (four), and piscivore (three).  Due to their specialized diet and low availability of preferable food resources, the nectarivores and piscivores are generally less represented (Wiens 1989).  The diversity of avifauna in the study area may be due to the presence of a wide spectrum of food niches, which reduced food competition among different species (Jose & Zacharias 2003).  About half of the recorded bird species were those associated with wetland habitats, such as ducks, herons, egrets, cormorants, jacanas, grebes, kingfishers, and storks, which were observed to feed on aquatic organisms (worms, insects, snails, fish, and amphibians) at various water depths available in the wetlands and adjoining paddy fields and marshy area.

Bronze-winged Jacana Metopidius indicus and Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus were spotted at Jyoti Sarovar alone, the only pond with lotuses.  The vegetation cover of lotuses provides suitable feeding, nesting, and breeding habitat for herons, moorhens, and jacanas.  Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio, a common resident species, was observed only in weedy marsh areas flanking the sacred pond of Jyoti Sarovar, where there were frequent human activities; this bird species may be a bio-indicator of enhanced weed infestation and increased vegetation cover in the wetlands of Haryana (Kumar et al. 2016).  Waders, shorebirds, Purple Moorhen, and wagtails were also observed foraging in the irrigated wheat and paddy fields flanking the sacred ponds in rural habitats (Jyoti Sarovar and Baan Ganga).  This observation is consistent with earlier reports, where foraging by aquatic birds outside the wetlands in surrounding agriculture fields has been recorded (Lane & Fujioka 1998; Mukherjee et al. 2002; Urfi 2003; Jha 2013; Kumar et al. 2016).

Among the recorded avifauna, five species, namely, Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala, Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus, Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus, River Tern Sterna aurantia, and Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria are listed as Near Threatened, and one species, Common Pochard Aythya ferina, as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List (IUCN 2017).  All the remaining species (n=120) are placed in the Least Concern category in the Red List of IUCN (2017).  Additionally, nine species are included in Appendix-II of CITES (2012).  Six species, including five species of Accipitridae and one of Phasianidae, are considered nationally threatened as these are listed under Schedule-I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

 

 

 

 

 

Significant records

Painted Stork - Near Threatened: A winter migrant in the study area was recorded in a small flock (4–8 individuals) only at Jyoti Sarovar during winter months (December–January).  The birds were often recorded roosting on large trees at the bank of the wetland.

Black-necked Stork - Near Threatened: A lone male individual was recorded foraging in the mud-flat adjacent to Jyoti Sarovar on 25January 2015.  This species is very widely but thinly distributed in India, with the northern and northwestern regions forming its main strongholds (Rahmani 1989).

Black-headed Ibis - Near Threatened: A resident wader species (Kumar et al. 2016) was recorded in small loose groups (1–4 individuals) only at Jyoti Sarovar throughout the study period.  It was often observed foraging with other waders at the margins of the pond, and mudflats and paddy fields adjoining the sacred wetland.

River Tern - Near Threatened: A common resident species in the study area (Kumar et al. 2016) was recorded as 1–7 scattered individuals at all the four sacred ponds throughout the study period.

Alexandrine Parakeet - Near Threatened: A resident species in the study area was recorded in small groups of 5–10 individuals.  The birds were frequently observed roosting on trees at banks of all the ponds.

Common Pochard - Vulnerable: This is a common winter visitor in India (Grimmett et al. 1999). The species was recorded in flocks of 6–50 individuals during winter months (November–March) in Brahma Sarovar only.

Comb Duck - Appendix II of CITES: A resident species in the Indian subcontinent with local movements (Grimmett et al. 1999) was recorded only at Jyoti Sarovar in a pair during summer (May 2014).

In addition to the cultural and religious legacy of the region, the presence of significant numbers of migratory species as well as those with conservation priorities underlines the importance of these sacred wetlands as important bird habitats in Haryana.  It is evident from the present study that if some attention is provided to these sacred wetlands, these could be developed as a good site for harbouring avifauna and as a haven for bird-watchers.  Our efforts contributed towards filling biological information gaps in the region; continuing studies will allow monitoring of the population and seasonal changes in the bird assemblage.

 

 

Table 2. Checklist and status of avifauna recorded in sacred ponds of Kurukshetra in the Trans-Gangetic Plains, India

 

 

        

 

Order/family/common name                   Scientific name                             Residential     Feeding  Conservation status        Sacred pond        Image

                                                                                                                  atatus            guild    IUCN   CITES  IWPA

                                                                                                                                                  (2017)   (2012)  (1972)  BS  JS   BG   SS

 

 

ANSERIFORMES

Anatidae (15)                                                                                                                                                                      

1      Lesser Whistling Duck                 Dendrocygna javanica (Horsfield, 1821)   SM              O           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û  1

2      Common Shelduck                      Tadorna tadorna (Linnaeus, 1758)         WM             O           LC       -           IV        ü  û  û  û 

3      Ruddy Shelduck                          Tadorna ferruginea (Pallas, 1764)          WM             O           LC       -           IV        ü  û  û  û  2

4      Red Crested Pochard                    Netta rufina (Pallas, 1773)                    WM             H           LC       -           IV        ü  û  û  û  3

5      Common Pochard                        Aythya ferina (Linnaeus, 1758)               WM             O           VU      -           IV        ü  û  û  û  4

6      Tufted Duck                                Aythya fuligula (Linnaeus, 1758)            WM             H           LC       -           IV        ü  û  û  û  5

7      Northern Shoveler                        Spatula clypeata (Linnaeus, 1758)          WM             O           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  û  û  6

8      Gadwall                                     Mareca strepera (Linnaeus, 1758)           WM             H           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  û  û  7

9      Eurasian Wigeon                         Mareca penelope (Linnaeus, 1758)          WM             H           LC       -           IV        ü  û  û  û 

10    Indian Spot-billed Duck                Anas poecilorhyncha Forster, 1781         WM             H           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  û  û  8

11    Mallard                                      Anas platyrhynchos Linnaeus, 1758        WM             H           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  û  û  9

12    Northern Pintail                           Anas acuta Linnaeus, 1758                    WM             O           LC       -           IV        ü  û  û  û  10

13    Common Teal                             Anas crecca Linnaeus, 1758                   WM             O           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  û  û  11

14    Comb Duck                                Sarkidiornis melanotos (Pennant, 1769)   SM              O           LC       II          IV        û  ü  û  û  12

15    Cotton Teal                                Nettapus coromandelianus (Gmelin, 1789)                  SM         O         LC        -          IV    û  ü  û  û 13

GALLIFORMES

Phasianidae (2)                                                                                                                                                                   

16    Indian Peafowl                             Pavo cristatus Linnaeus, 1758               R                 O           LC       -           I          ü  û  û  û  14

17    Grey Francolin                            Francolinus pondicerianus (Gmelin, 1789)                 R           O         LC        -          IV    ü  ü  û  û

PHOENICOPTERIFORMES

Podicipedidae (2)                                                                                                                                                                 

18    Little Grebe                                Tachybaptus ruficollis (Pallas, 1764)      R                 C           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  û  15

19    Great Crested Grebe                      Podiceps cristatus (Linnaeus, 1758)        WM             C           LC       -           IV        ü  û  û  û  16

COLUMBIFORMES

Columbidae (5)                                                                                                                                                                   

20    Rock Pigeon                               Columba livia Gmelin, 1789                 R                 G           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  17

21    Spotted Dove                              Spilopelia chinensis (Scopoli, 1786)       R                 G           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  18

22    Eurasian Collared Dove                 Streptopelia decaocto Frivaldszky, 1838  R                 G           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  19

23    Laughing Dove                            Spilopelia senegalensis (Linnaeus, 1766) R                 G           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  û  20

24    Yellow-legged Green Pigeon          Treron phoenicopterus (Latham, 1790)    R                 F            LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  21

CAPRIMULGIFORMES

Apodidae (1)                                                                                                                                                                       

25    Indian House Swift                       Apus affinis (Gray, 1830)                      R                 In           LC       -           IV        û  ü  ü  û 

CUCULIFORMES

Cuculidae (3)                                                                                                                                                                      

26    Pied Cuckoo                               Clamator jacobinus (Boddaert, 1783)      SM              In           LC       -           IV        ü  û  ü  û 

27    Asian Koel                                 Eudynamys scolopaceus (Linnaeus, 1758) R                 O           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  22

28    Greater Coucal                             Centropus sinensis (Stephens, 1815)       R                 C           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  23

GRUIFORMES

Rallidae (4)                                                                                                                                                                         

29    White-breasted Waterhen               Amaurornis phoenicurus (Pennant, 1769) R                 O           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  24

30    Purple Swamphen                        Porphyrio porphyrio (Linnaeus, 1758)     R                 O           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û  25

31    Common Moorhen                       Gallinula chloropus (Linnaeus, 1758)     WM             O           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  26

32    Common Coot                            Fulica atra Linnaeus, 1758                   WM             O           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  27

PELECANIFORMES

Ciconiidae (3)                                                                                                                                                                      

33    Painted Stork                              Mycteria leucocephala (Pennant, 1769)    WM             C           NT      -           IV        û  ü  û  û  28

34    Asian Openbill                            Anastomus oscitans (Boddaert, 1783)      WM             C           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û  29

35    Black-necked Stork                      Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus (Latham, 1790)                WM       C         NT        -          IV    û  ü  û  û

       Ardeidae (8)                                                                                                                                                                 

36    Black-crowned Night-Heron           Nycticorax nycticorax (Linnaeus, 1758)    R                 C           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  û  30

37    Indian Pond Heron                       Ardeola grayii (Sykes, 1832)                 R                 C           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  31

38    Cattle Egret                                Bubulcus ibis (Linnaeus, 1758)              R                 C           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  32

39    Grey Heron                                 Ardea cinerea Linnaeus, 1758                R                 C           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û  33

40    Purple heron                               Ardea purpurea Linnaeus, 1766             R                 C           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  û  û  34

41    Great Egret                                 Ardea alba Linnaeus, 1758                    WM             C           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  û  35

42    Intermediate Egret                        Ardea intermedia Wagler, 1829              WM             C           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  û  36

43    Little Egret                                 Egretta garzetta (Linnaeus, 1766)           R                 C           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  37

       Threskiornithidae (3)                                                                                                                                                    

44    Black-headed Ibis                         Threskiornis melanocephalus (Latham, 1790)              R           C         NT        -          IV    û  ü  û  û 38

45    Indian Black Ibis                         Pseudibis papillosa (Temminck, 1824)   R                 C           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û  39

46    Glossy Ibis                                 Plegadis falcinellus (Linnaeus, 1766)      R                 C           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û  40

       Phalacrocoracidae (3)                                                                                                                                                    

47    Little Cormorant                          Microcarbo niger (Vieillot, 1817)           R                 C           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  41

48    Great Cormorant                          Phalacrocorax carbo (Linnaeus, 1758)    WM             C           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  û  ü  42

49    Indian Cormorant                         Phalacrocorax fuscicollis Stephens, 1826                   WM       P         LC        -          IV    ü  ü  û  ü 43

CHARADRIIFORMES

Burhinidae (1)                                                                                                                                                                    

50    Eurasian Thick-knee                     Burhinus oedicnemus (Linnaeus, 1758)    R                 O           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û  44

       Recurvirostridae (2)                                                                                                                                                      

51    Pied Avocet                                Recurvirostra avosetta Linnaeus, 1758    WM             C           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û  45

52    Black-winged stilt                        Himantopus himantopus (Linnaeus, 1758)                   R           C         LC        -          IV    ü  ü  ü  û 46

       Charadriidae (2)                                                                                                                                                          

53    Red-wattled Lapwing                    Vanellus indicus (Boddaert, 1783)          R                 C           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  47

54    White-tailed Lapwing                   Vanellus leucurus (Lichtenstein, 1823)    WM             C           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û  48

       Rostratulidae (1)                                                                                                                                                          

55    Greater Painted-Snipe                   Rostratula benghalensis (Linnaeus, 1758)                   SM         O         LC        -          IV    û  ü  û  û

       Jacanidae (2)                                                                                                                                                               

56    Pheasant-tailed Jacana                   Hydrophasianus chirurgus (Scopoli, 1786)                 SM         O         LC        -          IV    û  ü  û  û 49

57    Bronze-winged Jacana                   Metopidius indicus (Latham, 1790)         R                 O           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û  50

       Scolopacidae (3)                                                                                                                                                           

58    Common Sandpiper                     Actitis hypoleucos Linnaeus, 1758          WM             C           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  û  û  51

59    Common Greenshank                   Tringa nebularia (Gunnerus, 1767)         WM             C           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û  52

60    Common Redshank                      Tringa totanus (Linnaeus, 1758)            WM             C           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û  53

       Laridae (2)                                                                                                                                                                  

61    Pallas’s Gull                               Larus ichthyaetus Pallas, 1773              WM             C           LC       -           IV        ü  û  û  û 

62    River Tern                                  Sterna aurantia Gray, 1831                   R                 P            NT      -           IV        ü  ü  û  û  54

ACCIPITRIFORMES

Accipitridae (5)                                                                                                                                                                    

63    Black-winged Kite                       Elanus caeruleus (Desfontaines, 1789)     R                 C           LC       II          I          û  ü  û  ü  55

64    Oriental Honey Buzzard                Pernis ptilorhynchus (Temminck, 1821)  R                 C           LC       II          I          ü  ü  û  û 

65    Shikra                                        Accipiter badius (Gmelin, 1788)             R                 C           LC       II          I          ü  ü  ü  û  56

66    Brahminy Kite                            Haliastur Indus (Boddaert, 1783)           R                 C           LC       II          I          ü  ü  û  û  57

67    Black Kite                                  Milvus migrans (Boddaert, 1783)            R                 C           LC       II          I          ü  ü  ü  ü  58

STRIGIFORMES

Strigidae (1)                                                                                                                                                                        

68    Spotted Owlet                             Athene brama (Temminck, 1821)           R                 C           LC       II          IV        ü  ü  ü  û  59

BUCEROTIFORMES

Bcerotidae (1)                                                                                                                                                                      

69    Indian Grey Hornbill                    Ocyceros birostris (Scopoli, 1786)          R                 O           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  60

       Upupidae (1)                                                                                                                                                               

70    Common Hoopoe                        Upupa epops Linnaeus, 1758                 R                 In           LC       -           IV        û  ü  ü  û  61

PICIFORMES

Picidae (1)                                                                                                                                                                           

71    Lesser Golden-backed Woodpecker  Dinopium benghalense (Linnaeus, 1758)  R                 In           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  û  û  62

       Ramphastidae (2)                                                                                                                                                         

72    Brown-headed Barbet                    Psilopogon zeylanicus (Gmelin, 1788)     R                 F            LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  û  63

73    Coppersmith Barbet                     Psilopogon haemacephalus (Muller, 1776)                  R           F         LC        -          IV    ü  ü  û  û 64

       CORACIIFORMES Meropidae (1)                                                                                                                                         

74    Green Bee-eater                            Merops orientalis Latham, 1802             R                 In           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  65

       Coraciidae (1)                                                                                                                                                              

75    Indian Roller                               Coracias benghalensis (Linnaeus, 1758)  R                 C           LC       -           IV        û  ü  ü  û  66

       Alcedinidae (2)                                                                                                                                                             

76    Pied Kingfisher                            Ceryle rudis (Linnaeus, 1758)                R                 P            LC       -           IV        ü  û  û  û 

77    White-throated Kingfisher              Halcyon smyrnensis (Linnaeus, 1758)      R                 C           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  67

PSITTACIFORMES

Psittaculidae (3)                                                                                                                                                                   

78    Slaty-headed Parakeet                   Psittacula himalayana (Lesson, 1832)     WM             F            LC       II          IV        ü  û  û  û 

79    Alexandrine Parakeet                    Psittacula eupatria (Linnaeus, 1766)       R                 F            NT      II          IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  68

80    Rose-ringed Parakeet                    Psittacula krameri (Scopoli, 1769)         R                 F            LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  69

       PASSERIFORMES Campephagidae (1)                                                                                                                                 

81    Scarlet Minivet                            Pericrocotus flammeus (Forster, 1781)     WM             In           LC       -           IV        ü  û  û  û 

       Dicruridae (1)                                                                                                                                                              

82    Black Drongo                              Dicrurus macrocercus Vieillot, 1817       R                 In           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  70

       Laniidae (2)                                                                                                                                                                 

83    Bay-backed Shrike                       Lanius vittatus Valenciennes, 1826         R                 C           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û 

84    Long-tailed Shrike                       Lanius schach Linnaeus, 1758               R                 C           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û  71

       Corvidae (3)                                                                                                                                                                 

85    Rufous Treepie                            Dendrocitta vagabunda (Latham, 1790)   R                 O           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  72

86    House Crow                                Corvus splendens Vieillot, 1817             R                 O           LC       -           V         ü  ü  ü  ü  73

87    Large-billed Crow                        Corvus macrorhynchos Wagler, 1827      WM             O           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  74

       Nectariniidae (1)                                                                                                                                                           

88    Purple Sunbird                            Cinnyris asiaticus (Latham, 1790)          R                 In/N        LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  75

       Ploceidae (1)                                                                                                                                                                

89    Baya Weaver                               Ploceus philippinus (Linnaeus, 1766)      R                 O           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  û  76

       Estrildidae (2)                                                                                                                                                              

90    Indian Silverbill                          Euodice malabarica (Linnaeus, 1758)      R                 G           LC       III         IV        û  ü  û  û  77

91    Scaly-breasted Munia                    Lonchura punctulata (Linnaeus, 1758)    R                 O           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  û  û  78

       Passeridae (1)                                                                                                                                                               

92    House Sparrow                            Passer domesticus (Linnaeus, 1758)        R                 O           LC       -           IV        û  ü  ü  û  79

       Motacillidae (7)                                                                                                                                                            

93    Tree Pipit                                   Anthus trivialis (Linnaeus, 1758)            WM             In           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û 

94    Paddyfield Pipit                           Anthus rufulus Vieillot, 1818                R                 In           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û  80

95    Western Yellow Wagtail               Motacilla flava Linnaeus, 1758              WM             In           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û  81

96    Grey Wagtail                              Motacilla cinerea Tunstall, 1771            WM             In           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û  82

97    Citrine Wagtail                           Motacilla citreola Pallas, 1776              WM             In           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û  83

98    White-browed Wagtail                  Motacilla maderaspatensis Gmelin, 1789                   R           In        LC        -          IV    ü  ü  ü  ü

99    White Wagtail                            Motacilla alba Linnaeus, 1758               WM             In           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  84

       Cisticolidae (4)                                                                                                                                                             

100  Zitting Cisticola                          Cisticola juncidis (Rafinesque, 1810)      R                 In           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  û 

101  Ashy Prinia                                Prinia socialis Sykes, 1832                   R                 In/N        LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  û  85

102  Plain Prinia                                Prinia inornata Sykes, 1832                 R                 In           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û  86

103  Common Tailorbird                     Orthotomus sutorius (Pennant, 1769)      R                 In/N        LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  û  87

       Hirundinidae (6)                                                                                                                                                          

104  Northern House Martin                 Delichon urbicum (Linnaeus, 1758)         R                 In           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û 

105  Wire-tailed Swallow                     Hirundo smithii Leach, 1818                 R                 In           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  û  û  88

106  Barn Swallow                             Hirundo rustica Linnaeus, 1758             R                 In           LC       -           IV        ü  û  û  û 

107  Eurasian Crag-Martin                    Ptyonoprogne rupestris (Scopoli, 1769)   R                 In           LC       -           IV        ü  û  û  û 

108  Plain Martin                               Riparia paludicola (Vieillot, 1817)         R                 In           LC       -           IV        ü  û  û  û 

109  Sand Martin                                Riparia riparia (Linnaeus, 1758)            R                 In           LC       -           IV        ü  û  û  û 

       Pycnonotidae (1)                                                                                                                                                          

110  Red vented Bulbul                       Pycnonotus cafer (Linnaeus, 1766)          R                 O           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  89

       Zosteropidae (1)                                                                                                                                                            

111  Oriental White-eye                       Zosterops palpebrosus (Temminck, 1824)                  R           In/N     LC        -          IV    ü  ü  û  û 90

       Timaliidae (1)                                                                                                                                                              

112  White-browed Scimitar Babbler      Pomatorhinus schisticeps Hodgson, 1836                   WM       O         LC        -          IV    û  ü  û  û

       Leiothrichidae (3)                                                                                                                                                         

113  Large Grey Babbler                      Argya malcolmi (Sykes, 1832)               R                 O           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  û  û  91

114  Common Babbler                        Argya caudata (Dumont, 1823)              R                 O           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü 

115  Jungle Babbler                            Turdoides striata (Dumont, 1823)          R                 O           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  û  û  92

       Sturnidae (4)                                                                                                                                                               

116  Asian Pied Starling                      Gracupica contra (Linnaeus, 1758)         R                 O           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  û  93

117  Brahminy Starling                       Sturnia pagodarum ( Gmelin, 1789)       R                 O           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  û  94

118  Common Myna                           Acridotheres tristis (Linnaeus, 1766)       R                 O           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  95

119  Bank Myna                                 Acridotheres ginginianus (Latham, 1790) R                 O           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  û  96

       Muscicapidae (7)                                                                                                                                                          

120  Indian Robin                               Saxicoloides fulicatus (Linnaeus, 1766)   R                 In           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  û  97

121  Oriental Magpie Robin                 Copsychus saularis (Linnaeus, 1758)      R                 In           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  ü  ü  98

122  Verditer Flycatcher                       Eumyias thalassinus Swainson, 1838      WM             In           LC       -           IV        ü  û  û  û 

123  Bluethroat                                  Cyanecula svecica (Linnaeus, 1758)        WM             In           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û  99

124  Red-breasted Flycatcher                 Ficedula parva (Bechstein, 1792)           WM             In           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û  100

125  Common Stonechat                      Saxicola torquatus (Linnaeus, 1766)       WM             In           LC       -           IV        û  ü  û  û  101

126  Brown Rock Chat                        Oenanthe fusca (Blyth, 1851)                R                 In           LC       -           IV        ü  ü  û  û  102

 

IUCN: International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources; CITES: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora; IPWA: Indian Wildlife Protection Act; R: Resident; SM: Summer migrant; WM: Winter migrant; LC: Least concern species; NT: Near threatened species; VU: Vulnerable species; I: Schedule- I species of IWPA (high priority species); IV: Schedule - IV species of IWPA (relatively low priority species); BS - Brahma Sarovar; JS - Jyoti Sarovar; BG - Baan Ganga, Dayalpur; SS - Sannihit Sarovar; C-Carnivore; H-Herbivore; In - Insectivore; O - Omnivore; N - Nectarivore; F - Fruigivore; G - Grainivore; P - Piscivore; ü - Species recorded in the habitat; û - Species not recorded in the habitat.

 

 

 

Table 3. Relative diversity of various avian families in sacred ponds of Kurukshetra, India

 

Order

Family

No. of species recorded

Relative abundance (%)

Anseriformes

Anatidae

15

11.90

Galliformes

Phasianidae

2

1.59

Phoenicopteriformes

Podicipedidae

2

1.8

Columbiformes

Columbidae

5

3.96

Caprimulgiformes

Apodidae

1

0.79

Cuculiformes

Cuculidae

3

2.38

Gruiformes

Rallidae

4

3.17

Pelecaniformes

Ciconiidae

3

2.38

 

Ardeidae

8

6.34

 

Threskiornithidae

3

2.38

 

Phalacrocoracidae

3

2.38

Charadriiformes

Burhinidae

1

0.79

 

Recurvirostridae

2

1.59

 

Charadriidae

2

1.59

 

Rostratulidae

1

0.79

 

Jacanidae

2

1.59

 

Scolopacidae

3

2.38

 

Laridae

2

1.59

Accipitriformes

Accipitridae

5

3.96

Strigiformes

Strigidae

1

0.79

Bucerotiformes

Bucerotidae

1

0.79

 

Upupidae

1

0.79

Piciformes

Picidae

1

0.79

 

Ramphastidae

2

1.59

Coraciiformes

Meropidae

1

0.79

 

Coraciidae

1

0.79

 

Alcedinidae

2

1.59

Psittaciformes

Psittaculidae

3

2.38

Passeriformes

Campephagidae

1

0.79

 

Dicruridae

1

0.79

 

Laniidae

2

1.59

 

Corvidae

3

2.38

 

Nectariniidae

1

0.79

 

Ploceidae

1

0.79

 

Estrildidae

2

1.59

 

Passeridae

1

0.79

 

Motacillidae

7

5.55

 

Cisticolidae

4

3.17

 

Hirundinidae

6

4.76

 

Pycnonotidae

1

0.79

 

Zosteropidae

1

0.79

 

Timaliidae

1

0.79

 

Leiothrichidae

3

2.38

 

Sturnidae

4

3.17

 

Muscicapidae

7

5.55

 

 

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