Birds flocking to Kovai on the wane

The Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) conducted by Coimbatore Nature Society (CNS) revealed drastic decline of 62 per cent in the number of migratory birds over the last five years.

Published: 12th February 2021 09:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th February 2021 09:55 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

COIMBATORE: The Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) conducted by Coimbatore Nature Society (CNS) revealed drastic decline of 62 per cent in the number of migratory birds over the last five years.

The eighth Asian waterbird census conducted by 18 participants from CNS between January 2 and January 18 at 28 wetlands in and around Coimbatore showed a decline in migratory birds count from 2597 birds from 35 species in 2017 to 978 birds from 31 species this year. On the flip side, the survey revealed higher number of resident birds in 2021 —  6091 birds across 103 species as opposed to the 4716 birds across 124 species in 2020.

Indian Spot-billed Duck, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Indian Pond Heron, White-throated Kingfisher, and Little Cormorant were commonly spotted on the most wetlands. Among the migratory birds, apart from Barn Swallow, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, and Common Sandpiper were widespread, the study noted.

"The reduction in the number of ducks and wading birds this season is a matter of great concern," the report observed.

G Prakash, a member of CNS said the relation between wetlands and birds depended on factors including availability, depth, and quality of water; availability of food and shelter; and the presence or absence of predators. He added that the migratory birds were finding it increasingly difficult to habitat Coimbatore wetlands because of the lack of these factors.

 "While the resident birds may move between wetlands depending on food availability and other factors to avert a crisis, the incoming migrant birds during September and October months may move out to better wetlands skipping the Coimbatore wetlands," said A Pavendhan, another member from the team. "The quality of wetlands in the upper Noyyal fed areas is comparatively better than the lower areas and the quality of water continues to be of concern," he said.

CNS members feel that the observation of next the 2-3 years would be very crucial and that a suitable action plan should be taken by the wetland managers to provide a suitable habitat for birds if the migratory birds’ count is still on the decline.

Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) is part of the International Waterbird Census (IWC). This citizen-science programme is supporting the conservation and management of wetlands and waterbirds worldwide.

Most populous birds

  • Little Cormorant (508)
  • Cattle Egret (498)
  • Barn Swallow (405)
  • House Crow (301)
  • Common Myna (294)
  • Indian Pond Heron (283)
  • Little Egret (254)

Migrant birds

  • Barn Swallow (405)
  • Blue-tailed Bee-eater (105)
  • Small Pratincole (100)
  • Common Sandpiper (58)
  • Wood Sandpiper (56)
  • Whiskered Tern (53)


  • Little Cormorant (508)
  • Cattle Egret (498)
  • Indian Pond-Heron (283)
  • Little Egret (254)
  • Indian Spot-billed Duck (192)
  • Spot-billed Pelican (151)
  • Grey-headed Swamphen (148)


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