NEW DELHI: A flock of 58 Egyptian vultures — an endangered species and a rare sight in the city — has been roosting at a sandy island in the mid-point of the river Yamuna near ITO.T K Roy, who has been monitoring the birds in this particular stretch between January and February as well as over the past, said that the number of these birds and their sub-species has been on a rise in the city.
According to the monitoring data, since 2015, the numbers have been on the rise. “The recordings have been made from the seasonal sandy-islands in the Yamuna over the past years. The increasing trend is a good indicator, as their population started declining in Delhi and across the country during the 90s. These are scavenger birds and play a key role in providing ecosystem services, as they feed on carrion and keep the environment clean. They also control the outbreak of diseases from decaying carrion,” said Roy.
He added that these birds come to these sandy islands mainly during October and March for roosting, as these temporary islands are undisturbed and safe for them. “They find it safe, as there is no or little human intervention around this time. They move away from here once the water reduces and comes close to the sandbanks,” said Roy. They move away to other sites such as the Ghazipur landfill for nesting, he added.
Sohail Madan, an ecologist and centre manager of the BNHS’ Conservation Education Centre at the Asola Wildlife Sanctuary, said that recently Egyptian Vultures were uplisted as an ‘endangered’ category of species from the ‘Vulnerable’ category previously. “This means their numbers are going down across the country. Such sighting in Delhi is a welcome news,” said Madan.
Year-wise record of Egyptian Vulture arrivals
- 2021 –56
- 2020 –42
- 2019 –35
- 2018 -25
- 2017 –10
- 2016 –No record found
- 2015 –4