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One in every five new endangered bird species in the world is Indian

Nihar Gokhale | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:47 IST

Eight birds from India have become more vulnerable to extinction in just the last year. This was revealed in the latest "red list" of species nearing extinction prepared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The list is published every year.

Of the eight birds:

The Curlew Sandpiper.(Photo: Parveen Shaikh)

  • Five birds have been classified as "near threatened". These are the Red Knot, Curlew Sandpiper, Eurasian Oystercatcher and Bar-Tailed Godwit.

The Common Pochard. (Photo: Nandkishore Dudhe)

  • Two birds as "vulnerable": Horned Grebe and Common Pochard, which live in wetlands.

Steppe Eagle.(Photo: Siddhesh Surve)

  • Steppe Eagle has been classified as "endangered". It is a migratory bird that arrives in the Indian subcontinent during the winters, and lives in grasslands.

Greater Knot. (Photo: Parveen Shaikh)

With these additions, the total number of Indian birds in the red list has gone up to 180. Surprisingly, the additions in India are one-fifth of the 40 birds worldwide added to the list.

These birds are threatened because of habitat loss and unsustainable development, according to a press statement by the Bombay Natural History Society.

  • Interestingly, Steppe Eagle is a scavenging bird. Just like the vultures, its numbers are dropping because the presence of the drug diclofenac in animal carcass. Diclofenac is used for veterinary purposes and was recently banned by the environment ministry as it has pushed vultures to the edge of extinction.
  • Red Knot, which has been classified as "near threatened", is found in coastal areas, mudflats and sandy beaches. Destruction of coastal ecosystems is causing its population to drop, besides illegal hunting and the over exploitation of shellfish, its main prey.

"The list of threatened species keeps on increasing with every assessment," said Deepak Apte, Director - BNHS. "That itself symbolizes that our efforts for conservation of species are not adequate," he added.

On a positive note, the IUCN has said that the European Roller bird is lesser vulnerable to extinction compared with last year. It has been downlisted from "Near Threatened" to "Least Concerned."

The survey of birds for IUCN was done jointly by BNHS, BirdLife International and other partner organisations.

First published: 30 October 2015, 3:59 IST
Nihar Gokhale @nihargokhale

Nihar is a reporter with Catch, writing about the environment, water, and other public policy matters. He wrote about stock markets for a business daily before pursuing an interdisciplinary Master's degree in environmental and ecological economics. He likes listening to classical, folk and jazz music and dreams of learning to play the saxophone.