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Ecological Study on Avifauna of Bhitarkanika


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Bhitarkanika is one of the largest mangrove ecosystems in India and abode of estuarine crocodiles, water monitor lizards, innumerable aquatic fauna and unique littoral forest with diverse dynamic and complex ecosystem. This ecosystem has contributed to mass congregation of Olive ridley sea turtles off the coast of Gahirmatha. The water body in and around Bhitarkanika has been declared as a Ramsar site in 2002. The intricate tidal creek system, the huge agricultural fields and the abundance of food materials has attracted avian guests both resident and migrants each year. The Bhitarkanika wetlands is not only an important wintering ground for a large number of migratory waterfowls but also plays an important role as a staging ground for many of these birds on their onward journey southwards as well as during return journey to their breeding ground.

The book is an effort in a modest way to present for the first time a comprehensive study on the ecology of both waterfowls as well as the waders thronging to Bhitarkanika wetlands for the benefit of park managers, wildlifers, environmentalists, researchers and ornithologists. An attempt has been made to enlighten the realities of mangrove ecosystems forming part of avian habitats, which is otherwise difficult and inaccessible. The book includes information on the number of bird species (both migratory and resident) of the habitat, seasonal variation of species and their arrival-departure pattern. Food and feeding techniques adopted by selected anatids was found to be almost similar to those in Chilika lagoon. A comprehensive account on seasonal variation of kingfishers in Bhitarkanika throws interesting light on how competition leads to absence of one species with the increase in the other intruding species. The book also includes detailed information on the ecology of eleven species of nesting water birds in the heronry. We sincerely hope that the book includes enough-information relating to avifauna in Bhitarkanika. The book can be considered as a base for undertaking further study on this subject to know “how the birds behave and occupy the ecological space in Bhitarkanika”.


Contents :

1. Introduction
1.1 Review of Literature
1.2 Research in India
1.3 Works on Bhitarkanika
2. Study Area
2.1 Location, Site Definition and Boundaries
2.2 Land Tenure
2.3 Management Infrastructure
2.4 Environmental Information
2.5 Biological Diversity
2.6 Bird Habitats
3. Materials and Methods
3.1 Data Analysis
4. Results
4.1 Checklist of Birds
4.2 Resident and Local Migratory Birds
4.3 Kingfishers of Bhitarkanika
4.4 Migratory Birds
4.5 Shorebirds
5. Discussion
5.1 Threats to Migratory Shorebirds
5.2 Recommendations


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Dr. Hemanta Kumar Sahu,

Prof. Sushil K. Dutta


Himalaya pub