A geographical assessment of Chariganga and Arpara Beel (wetlands) of Nadia, West Bengal as a habitat of wetland birds

Main Article Content

Mehedi Hasan Mandal
Arindam Roy
Giyasuddin Siddique


The present study attempts to assess the impact of human intervention on the population, distribution, and habitat perspectives of the water birds found in and around Chariganga and Arpara ‘Beel’ wetlands, leftover channels of the River Bhagirathi. The point count method was adopted during field surveys conducted from April 2019 to March 2020. These wetlands are the natural habitats for 37 species of wetland birds belonging to 18 families and 11 orders, of which 26 species are residents, three are summer migrants, and eight are winter immigrants. The wetlands also harbour 10 bird species whose population is globally declining over the last few decades. Relative Diversity index unveils that among waterfowls Ardeidae is the dominant family. Species richness reaches its peak in winter, and is least during the monsoon. Empirical observation documented one Vulnerable (Greater Adjutant) and one Near Threatened (Black-Headed Ibis) species residing on the banks and adjoining paddy fields. Indiscriminate extraction of wetland products by local people, along with agricultural expansion towards the waterfront of the wetlands, has deteriorated the health of those wetlands and threatened the existence of waterbirds, especially shorebirds. Populations of 22 species living in water edge areas has changed conspicuously owing to cultural and economic activities of neighboring human groups. We suggest improving the ecological balance of the wetlands and restraining further degradation through proper management to preserve avian diversity. 

Article Details

How to Cite
Mandal, M.H., Roy, A. and Siddique, G. 2021. A geographical assessment of Chariganga and Arpara Beel (wetlands) of Nadia, West Bengal as a habitat of wetland birds. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 13, 13 (Nov. 2021), 19964–19975. DOI:https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.6257.13.13.19964-19975.


Benoit, L.K. & R.A. Askins (1999). Impact of the spread of Phragmites on the Distribution of Birds in Connecticut Tidal Marshes. Wetlands 19(1): 194–208. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03161749

Bibi, F. & Z. Ali (2013). Measurement of Diversity Indices of Avian Communities at Taunsa Barrage Wildlife Sanctuary, Pakistan. The Journal of Animal & Plant Science 23(2): 469–474.

Chen, Y.Y. & X.G. Lu (2003). Wetland Functions and Wetland Science Research Direction. Wetland Science 1: 7–10.

Chen, Z.X. & X.S. Zhang (2001). Value of Chinese Ecosystem Benefits. Chinese Science Bulletin 45: 17–18. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02886190

Debnath, S., S. Biswas & A.K. Panigrahi (2018). Present status and diversity of avian fauna in Purbasthali bird sanctuary, West Bengal, India. Agricultural Science Digest 38(2): 95–102.

Fraser, L.H. & P.A. Keddy (2005). The World’s Largest Wetlands: Ecology and Conservation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 500pp. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511542091

Garg, J.K. (2015). Wetland Assessment, Monitoring and Management in India using Geospatial Techniques. Journal of Environmental Management 148: 112–123. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2013.12.018

Green, A.J. & J. Elmberg (2014). Ecosystem Services Provided by Water birds. Biological Reviews 89(1): 105–122. https://doi.org/10.1111/brv.12045

Grimmet, R., C. Inskipp & T. Inskipp (2011). Birds of the Indian Subcontinent. Oxford University Press, India, 528pp. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12595-018-0259-x

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Vol. 1. BirdLife International, Gland, Switzerland. http://www.iucnredlist.org

Issa, M.A.A. (2019). Diversity and Abundance of Wild Birds Species’ in Two Different Habitats at Sharkia Governorate, Egypt. The Journal of Basic and Applied Zoology 80(34): 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41936-019-0103-5

Kar, T. & S. Debata (2018). Assemblage of Waterbird Species in an Anthropogenic Zone along the Mahanadi River of Odisha, Eastern India: Implications for Management. Proceedings of the Zoological Society 72: 355–363. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12595-018-0276-9

Kear, J. (1990). Man and Wildfowl. T & A.D. Poyser, London

Khan, S.I. & H. Naher (2009). Birds in Kurigram District of Bangladesh. Journal of Threatened Taxa 1(4): 245–250. https://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o1698.245-50

Khan, R.A. (2002). The ecology and faunal diversity of two floodplain oxbow lakes of south-eastern West Bengal. Records of the Zoological Survey India 195: 1–57.

Khan, T.N. (2010). Temporal Changes to the Abundance and Community Structure of Migratory Water Birds in Santragachhi Lake, West Bengal, and Their Relationship with Water Hyacinth Cover. Current Science 99: 1570–1577.

Kingsford, R.T., A. Basset & L. Jackson (2016). Wetlands: Conservation’s Poor Cousins. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 26: 892–916. https://doi.org/10.1002/aqc.2709

Krcmar, E., G.C. Van Kooten & A. Chan-Mcleod (2010). Waterfowl Harvest Benefits in Northern Aboriginal Communities and Potential Climate Change Impacts, Resource Economics & Policy Analysis Research Group, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.

Kumar, P. & S.K. Gupta (2013). Status of Wetland Birds of Chhilchhila Wildlife Sanctuary, Haryana, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 5(5): 3969–3976. https://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o3158.3969-76

Kumar, P. & A. Sharma (2019). Wetland birds assemblages in man-made sacred ponds of Kurukshetra, India. Proceedings of the Zoological Society 72(1): 61–73. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12595-018-0259-x

Kumar, P., D. Rai & S.K. Gupta (2016). Wetland Bird Assemblage in Rural Ponds of Kurukshetra, India. Waterbirds 39: 86–98. https://doi.org/10.1675/063.039.0111

Ma, Z., Y. Cai, B. Li, & J. Chen (2010). Managing wetland habitats for water birds: an international perspective. Wetlands 30: 15–27. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-009-0001-6

Mandal, M.H. (2017). Environmental Importance of Palaeochannel: A Study on Purbasthali Oxbow Lake. Unpublished MPhil. Dissertation, Department of Geography, the University of Burdwan.

Mandal, M.H. & G. Siddique (2018). Water Birds at Purbasthali Oxbow Lake: A Geographical Study. Researchers’ World IX (Special Issue): 7–19.

Mandal, M.H., G. Siddique & A. Roy (2018). Threats and Opportunities of Ecosystem Services: A Geographical Study of Purbasthali Oxbow Lake. Journal of Geography, Environment and Earth Science International 16(4): 1–24. https://doi.org/10.9734/JGEESI/2018/43229

Mandal, M.H., A.K. Dey, A. Roy & G. Siddique (2020). Ecosystem Services of Chariganga and Arpara Beels in Nadia District, West Bengal: A Geographical Enquiry. Space and Culture, India 8(2): 155–167. https://doi.org/10.20896/saci.v8i2.742

Mazumdar, S. (2017). Composition of Avian Communities in a Human-modified Wetland Okhla Bird Sanctuary, India: With Notes on Conservation Initiatives. Proceedings of the Zoological Society 72: 319–333. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12595-017-0239-6

Mazumdar, S., P. Ghosh & G.K. Saha (2005). Diversity and behaviour of waterfowl in SantragachiJheel, West Bengal, India during winter season. Indian Birds 1: 68–69.

Mazumdar, S., K. Mookherjee & G.K. Saha (2007). Migratory waterbirds of wetlands of southern West Bengal, India. Indian Birds 3: 42–45.

Mazumdar, S. & G.K. Saha (2016). Wetlands in urban landscapes: problems and potentials, pp. 385–400. In: Saha, G.K. (Ed.) Wetland: crisis and options. Astral International Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi.

Mistry, J., A. Berardi & M. Simpson (2008). Birds as indicators of Wetland Status and Change in the North Rupununi, Guyana. Biodiversity and Conservation 17(10): 2383–2409. https://doi.org/doi:10.1007/s10531-008-9388-2

Mukherjee, S. (2008). Economic Valuation of a Wetland in West Bengal, India. International Water Management Institute (IWMI)-TATA Water Policy Research Program Seventh Annual Partners’ Meet 1, MPRA: 254–266.

Mukhopadhyay, S. & S. Mazumdar (2017). Composition, Diversity and Foraging Guilds of Avifauna in a Suburban Area of Southern West Bengal, India. The Ring 39: 103–120. https://doi.org/10.1515/ring-2017-0004

Mukhopadhyay, S. & S. Mazumdar (2019). Habitat-wise composition and foraging guild of avian community in a suburban landscape of lower Gangetic plains, West Bengal, India. Biologia 74: 1001–1010. https://doi.org/10.2478/s11756-019-00226-x

Murkin, H.R. & J.A. Kadlec (1986). Relationships between Waterfowl and Macro invertebrate densities in a northern prairie marsh. Journal of Wildlife Management 50(2): 212–217.

Prasad, S.N., T.V. Ramachandra, N. Ahalya, T. Sengupta, A. Kumar, A.K. Tiwari, V.S. Vijayan & L. Vijayan (2002). Conservation of wetlands of India: A Review. Tropical Ecology 43: 173–186.

Praveen, J., R. Jayapal & A. Pittie (2016). A Checklist of the Birds of India. Indian Birds 11(5–6): 113–172.

Puri, S.D. & R.S. Virani (2016). Avifaunal Diversity from Khairbandha Lake in Gondia District, Maharashtra State, India. Bioscience Discovery 7(2): 140–146.

Rajashekara, S. & M.G. Venkatesha (2010). The Diversity and Abundance of Water Birds in Lakes of Bangalore City, Karnataka, India. Biosystematica 4(2): 63–73.

Ringelman, J.K. (1990). Managing Agricultural Foods for Waterfowl. Waterfowl Management Handbook. Fish and Wildlife Leaflet 13.4.3. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington.

Saygili, F., N. Yigit & S. Bulut (2011). The Spatial and Temporal Distributions of Water Birds in Lakes Aksehir Eber and Lake Koyceigz in western Anatolia, Turkey-A Comparative Analysis. Turkish Journal of Zoology 35: 467–480. https://doi.org/10. 3906/zoo-0911-99

Sharma, K.K. & M. Saini (2014). Commun ity Structure and Population Dynamics of Aquatic Avifauna of Gharana Wetland (Reserve), Jammu, India. International Research Journal of Biological Sciences 3(2): 1–8.

Slabbekoorn H. & E.A.P. Ripmeester (2008). Birdsong and anthropogenic noise: implications and applications for conservation. Molecular Ecology 17(1): 72–83. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-294X.2007.03487.x

Stella, J., M. Hayden, J. Battles, H. Piegay, S. Dufour & A.K. Fremier (2011). The Role of Abandoned Channels as Refugia for Sustaining Pioneer Riparian Forest Ecosystems. Ecosystems 14(5): 776–790.

Stewart, R.E.Jr. (2001). Technical Aspects of Wetlands: Wetlands as Bird Habitats. National Water Summery on Wetland Resources (United States Geological Survey Water Supply Paper 2425). https://water.usgs.gov/nwsum/WSP2425/birdhabitat.html

Torre-Cuadros, M.D.L.A.L., S. Herrando-Perez & K.R. Young (2007). Diversity and Structure Patterns for Tropical Montane and Premontane Forests of Central Peru, with an Assessment of the Use of Higher-taxon Surrogacy. Biodiversity and Conservation 16(10): 2965–2988.

Volpato, G.H., E.V. Lopes, L.B. Mendonça, R. Boçon, M.V. Bisheimer, P.P. Serafini & L.d. Anjos (2009). The Use of the Point Count Method for Bird Survey in the Atlantic Forest. Zoologia 26(1): 74–78.

Ward, J.V. & J.A. Stanford (1995). Ecological connectivity in alluvial river ecosystems and its disruption by flow regulation. Regulated Rivers: Research & Management 11: 105–119.