Avifauna of wetlands of Amravati region, Maharashtra, India
Gajendrasingh Pachlore ¹ & Mamata Chandrakar ²
1 C/o Dr S.B. Pachlore, Sitaram Baba Colony, Ekvira Nagar, Pharshi Stop, Amravati, Maharashtra 444606, India
² C/o R.B. Chandrakar, Parvati apartment, Shegaon Naka, V.M.V. Road, Amravati, Maharashra 444604, India
Email: 1 email@example.com, 2 firstname.lastname@example.org
The avifauna of India and Pakistan was studied by Ali & Ripley (1987, 1988). A total of 536 species were reported from India by Ali (2002). From the Amravati region, Wadatkar (2001) and Wadatkar & Kasambe (2002) reported 171 species of birds from Pohra-Malkhed region and the Amravati University region.
This study is of immense importance to the wetlands which are mentioned here, as it has been observed that the water level of the wetlands is continuously declining and they are also getting polluted heavily by local human activities.
The source of water to all the lakes in this study is only rain water, thus the uncertainty in the amount of rainfall is another big reason for the shrinkage of a large area under water; eventually such poor and polluted wetlands are taken as the last choice by the migratory birds, hence causing a great loss to the richness of the wetlands. A regular and meticulous study of these wetlands will definitely help to keep a record of birds species (resident and migratory), thus helping to restore as well as to maintain the present condition of all of the three wetlands.
Amravati is located at 20093ÓN & 77075ÓE, at an elevation of 343m in Maharashtra. Three wetland areas of Amravati region have been studied which include Chhatri Lake, Wadali Lake and Bhivapur Lake or Talav.
Chhatri Lake (20053Õ42.6ÓN & 77046Õ66.2ÓE, 372m) covers an area of 111.231934m2 (Image 1).
Wadali Lake (20055Õ24.37ÓN & 77047Õ46.12ÓE, 377m)covers an area of 77.818996m2 (Image 2).
Bhivapur Lake (20055Õ79.1ÓN & 77059Õ68.7ÓE, 352m) the largest of the three lakes is 162.744404m2 in area; fishing is extensively done on a large commercial basis (Image 3).
Out of the three wetlands mentioned here, Chatri Talav and Wadali Talav are located in Amravati City and are thus taken care of by the Amravati Municipal Corporation (AMC); however, the AMC has given these two lakes on lease to other groups which are now responsible for the maintenance of the lakes and also earn profit by various activities like, boating, recreational games for children and snacks stalls for people of all ages who visit the lake.
Slightly different from the above two, the Bhivapur Talav is maintained by the Amravati Zillah Parishad (ZP). The ZP also takes out a tender of five years for any party interested in carrying out fishing activities at Bhivapur Talav, preference is always given to the fishing community.
The predominating vegetation is typically dry deciduous type (Champion & Seth 1968). Common plant species are Acacia arabica, Azardirachta indica, Zizyphus jujuba, Eucalyptus sp., Lantana camara, Ipomoea fistula, Cassia sp. etc. Aquatic weeds of these areas are Hydrilla sp., Typha sp., Cyperus sp., Chara sp., among others.
The climate of Amravati is tropical wet and dry climate with hot dry summers from March to June. The monsoon season is from July to October and warm winters from November to March; the highest and lowest temperature ever recorded was 46.70C on 25 May 1954 and 5.00C on 09 February 1887 respectively.
The Avifauna of these wetland areas has not yet been reported. This study will provide a base for further study.
The study is based on the observations of two years from March 2006 to March 2008. Regular visits were made to these study areas. In all 230 visits were made to each of the wetlands by three teams, comprising of minimum of three and maximum of 10 persons in each team. Observations were carried on a fixed path in a 1km radius at each station by using the line transect method by Gaston (1973). The birds were observed during the peak hours of their activity from 0600hr to 1000hr and in the evening from 1600hr to 1800hr. Observations were also made during other times of the day as per convenience. Classification followed in this study is as per Ali (2002).
Ninety-seven species of birds were recorded from three wetland areas of Amravati region (Table 1). Out of 97 species reported, 66 species were local or resident, 20 were resident migrant and 12 species were migrant. Wadali Lake region was found to be inhabited by the highest number of species i.e. 90. This was followed by Chhatri Lake and Bhivapur Lake with species found to be 88 and 77 respectively . The eating habits revealed that the highest number of birds recorded were insectivores (48), followed by piscivores (21), omnivores (12), grainivores (11), carnivores (6), frugivores (3), nectarivores (1). Out of 97 taxa recorded, the Oriental White Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus is listed as Near Threatened (IUCN 2007) globally and the Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus is included in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 (Arora 2003).
During the period of entire survey, the pair of Black-headed Gull Larus ribdibundus was sighted only once at Chatri Talav during the winter of 2007. Also the Purple Swamp Hen Porphyrio porphyrio population shows seasonal fluctuation in the number of individuals. Although no bird count was done, it was observed during the field visits that the number of Purple Swamp Hen individuals were sometime found in large numbers during winter and rainy seasons, but remarkably low during summers.
Many of these wetlands are used for Ganesh and Durga idol immersion during the festival time of Ganesh Chaturti and Navratri. The total absence of management at the time of idol immersion pollutes these wetlands. Polluted shores of such wetlands have caused increases in the number of scavenger birds like the House Crow Corvus splendens which are found to be feeding on the eggs of Common Coots, Purple Moorhen, and Jacanas and are thus responsible for the decrease in their population. To maintain the biodiversity richness of these areas serious attempts should be made from the concerned authorities, as well as from the local population. Educating the local population and making them aware of these facts will increase the wetland biodiversity richness
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