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This is the first comprehensive assessment of the distribution range, trends in abundance, and conservation status for most of the bird species that regularly occur in India. With their ubiquity and ecological importance, birds are excellent indicators of the state of our natural world and are potent cultural symbols of nature. This national-level assessment of birds is a significant step forward in the monitoring and conservation of India’s rich and varied biodiversity.

Highlights

Methods and Data

The Report

The Making of the Report

Highlights

species of Indian birds assessed in this report

observations by birdwatchers form the basis of the analyses

%

increase in the abundance of peafowl across the country over the past decades

%

of species show clear declines over the past decades

species classified as of High Conservation Concern, and require immediate attention

The Report

The State of India’s Birds report was created to assess the conservation status of the majority of species that regularly occur in the country. Worldwide, common and widespread species are declining; but in India, lack of information has meant that conservation attention has been focussed on only a few species (usually large, charismatic and threatened).

The report fills this gap by using over 10 million observations uploaded to the eBird platform by more than 15,500 birdwatchers to evaluate the distribution range size of 867 Indian birds, and their trends in abundance in both the long term (over 25+ years) and currently (past 5 years). Using these three measures, plus information from the IUCN Red List of global threat status, this report places Indian species into Low, Moderate and High categories of Conservation Concern for India. A large number of species that are thought to be common and widespread find themselves as of High Conservation Concern.

 

Methods and Data

The report contains a brief outline of the methods used to come up with the State of India’s Birds. For those who would like to dig deep, a detailed methodology is available (PDF).

The primary data used in this report is the 10+ million observations uploaded by Indian birdwatchers to eBird, an online birding notebook. Data on eBird are freely available for research, education and conservation.

The data from birdwatchers observations was combined with supporting information for each species — including their taxonomic grouping, their habitat, endemicity and diet — to create the summaries in the report.

The Making of the Report

The State of India’s Birds project was first conceived in May 2018, as a means to derive an assessment of the conservation status of Indian birds from the large volume of information available on the eBird platform. From the beginning, it was thought of as a multi-institutional effort, with different organizations contributing their expertise, time and funds. The partnership consists of ten institutions from across the country (see logos in the footer below).

An initial planning meeting with all partners in August 2018 was followed by a methodology workshop in November 2018 and then a final meeting in April 2019. When not meeting in person, individual collaborators from the various partners discussed and coordinated using online tools. The methodology was reviewed by partners as well as by independent experts, and so was the draft report before it was finalized.

The report was released on 17 February 2020 at the 13th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species held at Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India.

Photo credits
Forest Wagtail: Sriram Reddy
Shikra, Bar-headed Goose: Team WildArt
Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher: Rahul Singh
Egyptian Vulture, House Sparrow: Rajat Bhargava
Black-rumped Flameback: Bhanu Sridharan 

SoIB logo design
Adira Andlay

This report was produced as a partnership between the 10 organisations shown here: