Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 June 2016 | 8(6): 8909–8918






A checklist of avifauna from Malgaon-Bagayat and Malvan towns of Sindhudurg District, Maharashtra, India


Mayura Khot 362/At and post Malgaon Bagayat, Taluka Malvan, District Sindhudurg, Maharashtra 416606, India




Abstract: The present work was carried out in Malgaon-Bagayat (16009’04.35”N & 73033’04.7”E) and Malvan Taluka (16005’00”N & 73030’00”E) of Sindhudurg District. The paper represents the first document on birds as there are no published records from Sindhudurg District. The study was conducted for a period of two years to explore the avifauna as no records have been published yet from this area. A total of 101 species of birds belonging to 17 orders and 45 families and were recorded in the study areas inhabiting different types of habitats. The Order Passeriformes contributed the maximum species (44.9%) followed by Pelecaniformes (9.2%), Charadriiformes (8.2%) and Accipitriformes (6.1%). The species such as the Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Common Hoopoe, and Pied Kingfisher were observed only once in the study area. The common occurrence of the Near Threatened Malabar Pied Hornbill in Bagayat signifies the ornithological importance of this site. Long-term studies on distribution and abundance are required to prepare a conservation plan for avifauna in Sindhudurg District. The data generated can be considered as baseline data for future conservation and management of existing species.

Keywords: Conservation, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Malgaon-Bagayat, Malvan, plantations, threats.




doi: | ZooBank:


Editor: S. Balachandran, Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, India. Date of publication: 26 June 2016 (online & print)


Manuscript details: Ms # 1706 | Received 01 April 2015 | Final received 06 June 2016 | Finally accepted 13 June 2016


Citation: Khot, M. (2016). A checklist of avifauna from Malgaon-Bagayat and Malvan towns of Sindhudurg District, Maharashtra, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 8(6): 8909–8918;


Copyright: © Khot 2016. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.


Funding: None.


Conflict of Interest: The author declares no competing interests.


Acknowledgements: I am grateful to my family for supporting in field survey and local information. I am also thankful to Mr. Mrugendra Khot for his photography. Special thanks to Mr. Krishna Vanjare and Keshav Bhogle for providing local information. Author also wish to thank Dr. Neelesh Dahanukar for providing map files. Sincere thanks to editors and referees for their valuable comments on manuscript.




The Western Ghats (Sahyadris) constitute a 1,600km long system along the west coast originating from the north of the Tapi River and extending up to Kanyakumari at the southernmost tip of the Indian peninsula. The evergreen and moist deciduous forests of Western Ghats are found to hold the largest bird community. Covering an area of 1,60,000km2, the ghats crosses six states: Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The Western Ghats separates the inland Deccan Plateau from the coastal strip known as the Konkan region. The Konkan region being part of Maharashtra State comprises five districts i.e., Thane, Mumbai, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg of which Sindhudurg District is surrounded by the Arabian Sea on the west, Amboli Ghats and Belgaum on the south, Ratnagiri towards the north and the Sahyadri Hill ranges towards the east. Earlier the district was situated in Ratnagiri District but due to administrative convenience, industrial and agricultural development it was separated as Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts with effect from 01 May 1981. The district has its unique natural beauty with lush green rice fields, mango orchards, hill ranges, thick forests, large coastline, beaches, temples, historical forts, waterfalls which are important resources for tourist and also for variety of birds and animals. As birds form an important component in the natural ecosystem, they play a useful role in the control of insects, as scavengers, predators, seed dispensers and as pollinating agents. They are susceptible to landscape–level changes in the environment such as habitat fragmentation (Wilcove 1985) population level changes in breeding success and survival rates which may reflect changes in the environment (Baillie 1991).

In the late 19th century, studies on avifaunal diversity had received more attention by various workers such as Ali & Abdulali (1936–1939), Abdulali & Ali (1940), Abdulali (1973), Gole (1994, 1998), Bharucha & Gogate (1990), Mahabal (1989), Kurhade (1996, 2010), Ali S. (2002), Pande (2003) from Western Ghats and the south western parts of Maharashtra. Records published from the Konkan region and adjoining areas were supported by Vidal (1880), Soman (1963), Samant (1986), (Shanbhag et al. 2001), Prasad (2003) and (Mahabal et al. 2011). However, there is a lack of recent reports of avifauna from the Konkan region. Avifauna in Malvan Town and Bagayatwadi of Sindhudurg District have not been studied yet. Hence, the aim of the present study was to explore the avifauna around Malgaon Village of Bagayatwadi and Malvan towns from Sindhudurg district.


Study Area

The Sindhudurg District is situated between 15.370–16.400N & 73.190–74.180E. It covers an area of about 5,207km2 and coastline of about 121km. The district name has been adopted from the Sindhudurg fort constructed by Shivaji Maharaj in 1664 . It was declared as “tourism district” by the Government of Maharashtra in 1997. Being a coastal district, the climate is generally moist and humid and the temperature varies with a minimum of 16.30C to a maximum of 33.80C. The average rainfall is 3,287mm ( The forest of Sindhudurg is semi-evergreen, dry deciduous and moist deciduous (Punde 2008). The Sindhudurg fort, scenic beaches, dolphin watches, houseboat stays, and marine sanctuary at Malvan attract many tourists every year. Apart from tourism it is famous for major crops like Rice, Mango, Coconut, Cashew and Kokam which supports good employment business for local people. The district comprises eight talukas such as Devgad, Vaibhavwadi, Kankavli, Malvan, Vengurla, Kudal, Savantwadi and Dodamarg. The study was conducted in Malvan Taluka which consists of two sites, Malvan town and Bagayatwadi of Malgaon village (Fig. 1). Malvan town is situated about 1.5km opposite the Sindhudurg fort island with an open coastal ecosystem dominated by rocky islands, rocky and sandy beaches. The town hosts human settlements with coconut plantations (32%), upland with/without shrub (36%), forest cover (15%), agricultural land (8%), mudflat (4%), rocky islands (1%), mangrove area (1%) and remaining with fallow land, irrigation tanks and water bodies (ICMAM Report 2001). The Malgaon village is situated 18km away from Malvan town which covers an area of about 1154ha comprising twelve small settlements ( The study was conducted in one of the small settlements namely Bagayatwadi (16009’04.35’’N & 73033’04.7’’E) situated in Malgaon village covering an area of about 2.36km2 and Malvan town 16005’00’N & 73030’00’E with an area of about 13.42km2. The vegetation of Bagayat is semi-evergreen with cultivations whereas dry deciduous in the open hill plains. The Bagayat has a flowing stream which arises from Gad River with its edges covered with dense patches of Pundanus spp. vegetation (Image 1). Agricultural crops mainly cultivated are Rice, Nachani, Groundnut, Mustard seeds, Horse gram, Green gram, Black gram grown in the summer season whereas Long bean, Snake gourd, Pumpkin, Cucumber, Ladies finger, Bitter gourd and Melon in the rainy season. The dominant vegetation type is Acacia auriculiformis, and scattered trees of Cocos nucifera, Artocarpus integrifolia, Eugenia jambolana, Ficus bengalensis, Tectona grandis, Psidium guajava, Garcinia indica, Bombax malabaricum, Cinnamomum temala, Ficus tsjakela, Aegle marmelos, Ocimum tenuiflorum, Azadirachta indica, and plantations like Anacardium occidentale and Mangifera indica. Shrubs such as Carissa carandas, Hibiscus rosa–sinensis, Mimosa pudica, Zizyphus rogosa, Adhatoda vasica, Loranthus longiflorus are naturally present on the road side and also planted by villagers. Spices including Black pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Clove are also grown and naturally present in the study area.









Material and Methods

The study was conducted seasonally for a period of two years from November 2011 to November 2013. Field surveys were carried out in winter, summer and the monsoon season seven days in a month from morning 0630 to 1100 hours and from evening 1600 to 1900 hours. Observations were done by direct sighting and photographs were taken with a Cannon SX520 HS camera with 20X optical zoom. Identification was done with the help of a standard field guide (Grimmet et al. 2011). Different habitats as well as nesting sites were also noted. Percentage occurrence of families was calculated by the method of Basavarajappa (2006). Species richness was calculated by recording the number of bird species observed in each habitat of the study area. The status of birds were classified as Resident (R), Winter visitor (WV) and Former range (FR) based on Grimmet et al. (2011).



Results and Discussion

The present study records a total of 101 species of birds belonging to 45 families from Malvan and Bagayat (Table 1; Images 2–14). Out of a total of 101 species, 89 were resident, 11 were winter visitor and 1 was former range. Order Passeriformes showed the maximum species diversity followed by Pelecaniformes, Charadriiformes and Accipitriformes (Table 2). Based on IUCN 2014 Red List Category, 100 species were Least Concern while one species was found to be Near Threatened (Malabar Pied Hornbill). Maximum number of species were found in mixed vegetation (14.2%) habitat followed by open forest grassland (11.8%), cultivation (10.4%), thorn scrub (7.5%) and mangroves (7.5%) (Fig. 2). The Bagayat has fresh water stream covered with dense Pundanus sp. vegetation which provides a refuge to many species during the afternoon. Species such as Little Cormorant, Yellow Wagtail, White-breasted Water-hen, Indian Pond Heron were observed continuously in December and February in the freshwater streams of Bagayat.

The Malabar Pied Hornbill was observed in 8 to 10 numbers in all seasons every day on Coconut, Mango and Banyan tree in Bagayat and surrounding areas. The reason for occurring in good numbers may be due to tall and fruiting trees. They were also observed on Ficus bengalensis many times feeding on the fig fruit. The roosting site for White-breasted Water-hen was Pundanus vegetation while that of Little Cormorant and Pond Heron was found on Semecarpus anacardium along the streams of Bagayat as they preferred tall trees. Nesting of Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher was observed in drinking water well feeding their young ones with Honeybee. Red-rumped Swallow nesting was confirmed by observing them in carrying nest-building mud in their beak. Nesting of Baya Weaver was also seen on coconut trees.

Maximum number of birds was observed during the post monsoon season on fruiting trees. Extensive deforestation by slash and burn for plantations in Bagayat (Image 16) whereas mangroves cutting into Malvan town (Image 15) were the major threats observed in the study area. The forest area around Bagayat is cleared for plantations of cashew, mango and agricultural land. Personal observation has showed that the population of crows has increased within the two years study period in Bagayat which may be due to the increased anthropogenic activities. Besides, unwanted domestic as well as household waste is deposited in to the stream of Bagayat by local people causing pollution & water logging. During Ganesh visarjan, Ganesh idol immersion is done in Bagayatwadi stream leading to pollution. Species such as the Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Common Hoopoe, Pied Kingfisher were observed once only in the winter season. Increasing household development by cutting off of the forest cover is on the rise resulting in destruction of habitats for different species. In recent year’s activities such as urbanization, construction of houses and shops, dumping wastes in stream and estuaries etc is on the rise in Malvan Taluka. Moreover, tourism has increased in Malvan Taluka where large numbers of national and international tourists visit every year thereby increasing pollution and population. A temple called Bharadidevi situated in Angnewadi 4km away from Bagayatwadi is famous for its tourism where a large number of tourists visit every year in the month of February. These increasing developmental activities and disturbances may cause further effects on avifaunal diversity in future.








This is the first documentation on birds from Bagayatwadi Village and Malvan Town as no other records have been published yet. The study area shows a richness for a variety of birds inhabiting the area. Considering the impact of anthropogenic activities and increasing unplanned household development, long term changes in population and abundance of the birds should be monitored in the study area (Mayura Khot pers. obs.) to prepare complete checklist of birds as habitat destruction & pollution plays a major role in the decline of species (Reddy et al. 2014). Activities such as burning forests for plantations and deforestation of mangroves a detailed study is required to find out the impact on the roosting of birds. As crows are indicators of pollution (Pachlore & Chandrakar 2011), monitoring the population or a detailed study of crows is needed in Bagayat which will help in understanding the increasing population of crows in the particular area. As a result of healthy habitat conditions for threatened species like Malabar Pied Hornbill, long term studies could be planned for population structure and behavior studies so as to assist in conservation of this species in other areas of Konkan. Mangrove areas in Malvan Taluka need to be protected as they play an important role in breeding and nursery ground for large number of birds. Considering the above aspects and to overcome these threats there is need for awareness in coastal village communities where the study area needs to be protected. The data generated in this paper can be used as baseline data for management and conserving population of existing species.




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