An annotated checklist of the birds of upper Chenab catchment, Jammu & Kashmir, India

Main Article Content

Neeraj Sharma
Suresh Kumar Rana
Pankaj Raina
Raja Amir
Muzaffar Ahmed Kichloo


Watershed avifaunal inventories are useful in devising management strategies appropriate to the habitat, as well as species conservation.  The Chenab River basin forms one of the largest and most important river basins in Jammu & Kashmir.  The upper Chenab catchment offers a rich and diverse fauna, especially birds, owing to variety of habitats, different climatic regimes, and a wide range of altitude,.  We present an avifaunal list of four watersheds—Bhot, Marusudar, Kalnai and Neeru of the Chenab River basin including Kishtwar Town and the surrounding area of the upper Chenab catchment over an elevation range of 820–4,500 m.  The list includes 251 species belonging to 60 families and 150 genera of which six are globally threatened, 127 residents, 124 migrants and three new to the state.  The paper also describes species-wise habitat occupancy, feeding behaviour, migratory status and abundance of the avifauna.  The study reveals that mosaic habitats comprising forests, riverbeds, rangelands and rocky outcrops are crucial for the conservation of birds in the region.


Article Details



Acharya, B.K., N.J. Sanders, L. Vijayan & B. Chettri (2011). Elevational gradients in bird diversity in the eastern Himalayas: An evaluation of distribution patterns and their underlying mechanisms. PLoS ONE 6(12): e29097;

Ali, S. & S.D. Ripley (2001). Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan - I. Oxford University Press, New Delhi.

Baba, M.M. (2002). Management Plan of Kishtwar High Altitude National Park, Department of Wildlife Protection, Kishtwar, Government of J&K.

Beehler, B.C., K. Raju & A Shahid (1987). Avian use of man disturbed forest habitats in the Eastern Ghats, India. Ibis 129: 197–211.

Chettri, N., E. Sharma & D.C. Deb (2001). Bird community structure along a trekking corridor of Sikkim Himalaya: a conservation perspective. Biological Conservation 102: 1–16.

Chettri, N., E. Sharma, D.C. Deb & R.C. Sundryal (2002). Impact of firewood extraction on tree structure, regeneration and woody biomass productivity in a trekking corridor of the Sikkim Himalaya. Mountain Research and Development 22: 150–158.

Daniels, R.J.R. (1989). A conservation strategy for the birds of Uttara Kanada District. Ph.D Thesis. Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

Daniels, R.J.R., M. Hegde, N.V. Joshi & M. Gadgil (1991). Assigning conservation value; a case study from India. Conservation Biology 5(4): 464–475.

Dixit, S., V. Joshi & S. Barve (2016). Bird diversity of the Amrutganga Valley, Kedarnath, Uttarakhand, India with special emphasis on the elevational distribution of species. Checklist 12(2): 1–11.

Gaston, K.J. (1996). Species-range-size distribution patterns, mechanisms and implications. Trends Ecol Evol 11; 197-201.

Gibbons, D.W. & R.D. Gregory (2006). Birds, pp. 319–328. In: Sutherland, W.J. (ed.). Ecological Census Techniques - A Handbook. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Graham, C.H., A.C Carnaval, C.D. Cadena, K.R. Zamudio, T.E. Roberts, J.L. Parra, C.M. McCain, R.C.K. Bowie, C. Mortiz, S.B. Baines, C.J. Schnider, J. VanDerWal, C. Rahbak, C.H. Kozak & N.J. Sanders (2014). The origin and maintenance of montane diversity: integrating evolutionary and ecological processes. Ecography 37(8): 711–719;

Grewal, B., S. Sen, S. Singh, N. Devasar & G. Bhatia (2016). A Pictorial Field Guide to Birds of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Om Books International, 791pp.

Grimmett, R., C. Inskipp & T. Inskipp (2011). Birds of the Indian Subcontinent. 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press & Christopher Helm, London, 528pp.

Grimmett, R., C. Inskipp & T. Inskipp (2013). Birds of the Indian Subcontinent: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and the Maldives. e-book downloaded

Harris, G. & S.L. Pimm (2008). Range size and extinction risk in forest birds. Conservation Biology 22: 163–172.

IUCN (2016). International Union for Conservation of Nature, downloaded from on 28-09-2016.

Islam, M.Z. & A.R. Rahmani (2004). Important Bird Areas in India: Priority Sites for Conservation. Indian Bird Conservation Network, Bombay Natural History Society, and Birdlife International, UK, xvii+1133pp.

Joshua, J. & A.J.T. Johnsingh (1986). Observation on birds on Mandathurai Plateau Tamil Nadu. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 75: 1028–1035.

Khan, M.A. (2002). Avifauna of Kaghan Valley Northwest Frontier Province, Pakistan, Tigerpaper 29(3): 16–19.

Kichloo, M.A. (2014). Avian diversity and its association with the established forest stands in different elevational zones of Bhaderwah, J &K. M. Phil Thesis. University of Jammu, Jammu.

Kichloo, N.A. (1992). Census report of Kishtwar High Altitude National Park, Department of Wildlife Protection, Kishtwar, Government of J&K.

Laiolo, P. (2003). Diversity and structure of the bird community overwintering in the Himalayan subalpine zone: is conservation compatible with tourism? Biological Conservation 115: 251--262.

Llanos, F.A., M. Failla, G.J. García, P.M. Giovine, M.Carbajal, P.M. González, D.P. Barreto, P. Quillfeldt & J.F. Masello (2011). Birds from the endangered Monte, the Steppes and Coastal biomes of the province of Río Negro, northern Patagonia, Argentina. Checklist 7(6): 782–797.

Loiselle, B.A. & J.G. Blake (1991). Temporal variation in birds and fruits along an elevational gradient in Costa Rica. Ecology 72: 180–193.

McCain, C.M. (2009). Global analysis of bird elevational diversity. Global Ecology and Biogeography 18(3): 346–360;

Naqash, R.A. (2006). Census report in survey of mammals in Kishtwar High Altitude National Park, Department of Wildlife Protection, Kishtwar, Government of J&K.

Norris, D.R. & P.P. Marra (2007). Seasonal interactions, habitat quality and population dynamics in migratory birds. Condor 109: 535–547.

Orme, C.D.I., R.G. Davies, V.A. Olson, G.H. Thomas & T.S. Ding (2006). Global patterns of geographic size in birds. PLoS Biology 4: 1276–1283.

Parsa, M.A. (1999). Survey of animals in Kishtwar High Altitude National Park, Department of Wildlife Protection, Kishtwar, Government of J&K.

Peterson, A.T., L.G. Ball & K.W. Brady (2000). Distribution of the birds of the Philippines: biogeography and conservation priorities. Bird Conservation International 10 (2): 149–167.

Price, T.D., D. Mohan, D.T. Tietze, D.M. Hooper, C.D.L. Orme & P.C. Rasmussen (2011). Determinants of northerly range limits along the Himalayan bird diversity gradient. American Naturalist 178(4): 97–108;

Price, T.D., J. Zee, K. Jamdar & N. Jamdar (2003). Bird species diversity along the Himalayas; a comparison of Himachal Pradesh with Kashmir. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 100(2&3): 394–409.

Rahmani, A.R. (2012). Threatened Birds of India-their Conservation Requirements. Indian Bird Conservation Network : Bombay Natural History Society, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Birdlife International. Oxford University Press, xvi +864pp.

Rahmani, A.R., I. Suhail, P. Chandan, K. Ahmad & A.A. Zarri (2013). Threatened birds of Jammu & Kashmir. Indian Bird Conservation Network, Bombay Natural History Society, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and Birdlife International. Oxford University Press, xiv+150pp.

Rasmussen, P.C. & J.C. Anderton (2012). Birds of South Asia: the Ripley Guide. 2nd Edition. Washington, D.C. and Barcelona: Smithsonian Institution and Lynx Edicions. 2 vols. Pp. 1–378; 1–683.

Shah, T.A., V. Ahuja, M. Anandam & C. Srinivasulu (2016). Avifauna of Chamba District, Himachal Pradesh, India with emphasis on Kalatop-Khajjiar Wildlife Sanctuary and its surroundings. Journal of Threatened Taxa 8(1): 8333–8357;

Sharma, N. (2017). First record of Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin Cercotrichas galactotes (Aves: Passeriformes: Muscicapidae) from Jammu & Kashmir, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 9(9): 10726–10728;

Sharma, N. & A. Sohil (2017). Bronzed Drongo Dicrurus aenea and Hair-crested Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus from Jammu & Kashmir, India. Indian BIRDS 13(6): 168.

Sharma, N. & M.A. Kichloo (2016). Chestnut-tailed Minla Chrysominla strigula, an addition to the avifauna of Jammu &Kashmir, India. Indian BIRDS 11(2): 51.

Sharma, N. & S.K. Rana (2018). Whiskered Yuhina Yuhina flavicollis from Jammu & Kashmir, India. Indian BIRDS 14(2): 55.

Somveille, M., A. Manica, S.H.M. Butchart & A.S.L. Rodrigues (2013). Mapping global diversity patterns for migratory birds. PLoS ONE 8 (8): e70907;

Wani, A.A. & D.N. Sahi (2005). Diversity and Status of birds of Tehsil Doda, Jammu. Journal of Nature and Conservation 173(1): 135–143.

Whistler, H. (1929). Some aspects of birdlife in Kashmir. The Himalayan Journal 1: 29–50.

Xeno-canto (2016). Sharing birds sounds from around the world. Electronic database accessible at: http:// Downloaded on 12-08-2016.