Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 May 2017 | 9(5): 10158–10170





A comparative study of avian diversity in Teknaf Wildlife Sanctuary, Inani Reserve Forest and Chittagong University campus in Bangladesh


M. Farid Ahsan 1 & Ibrahim Khalil Al Haidar 2


1,2 Department of Zoology, University of Chittagong, Chittagong 4331, Bangladesh

1, 2 (corresponding author)




doi: | ZooBank:

Editor: Hem Sagar Baral, Charles Sturt University, Albury-Woodonga, Australia. Date of publication: 26 May 2017 (online & print)

Manuscript details: Ms # 2942 | Received 28 July 2016 | Final received 05 January 2017 | Finally accepted 20 April 2017

Citation: Ahsan, M.F. & I.K.A. Haidar (2017). A comparative study of avian diversity in Teknaf Wildlife Sanctuary, Inani Reserve Forest and Chittagong University campus in Bangladesh. Journal of Threatened Taxa 9(5): 10158–10170;

Copyright: © Ahsan & Haidar 2017. 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: Partially funded by Chittagong University Bird Club (CUBC).

Competing interests: The authors declare no competing interests.

Author detail: Dr. Md. Farid Ahsan is currently working as Professor in the Department of Zoology, University of Chittagong, Chittagong, and pronounced Wildlife Biologist in Bangladesh. Ibrahim Khalil Al Haidar is student, Department of Zoology, University of Chittagong.


Author contribution: The first author designed the study and all study has done under his supervision and improved the manuscript, while the second author conducted the field surveys of this study, compiled the data and wrote this manuscript.


Acknowledgements: We gratefully acknowledge the following: Chittagong University Birds Club and all its members for their cordial support; Mr. Sayad Mahmudur Rahman, mammalogist, Bangladesh Forest Department; Mr. Konok Roy, forensic lab specialist, Bangladesh Forest Department; Md. Mizanur Rahman, Department of Zoology, University of Chittagong, Chittagong; M. Tarik Kabir, Project Assistant (Wildlife Biologist), White-rumped Vulture Conserva on in Bangladesh Project, IUCN Bangladesh; Mr. Samiul Mohsanin, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Climate Resilient Ecosystems and Livelihoods Project, NACOM; Mr. Omar Shahadat, Research Officer, Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conserva on Project; and Mr. Syed Abbas, Photographer; for their cordial help and suggestions during the study. We are thankful to: Mr. Mohammad Abdul Awal Sarker, Divisional Forest Officer, Cox’s Bazar South Forest Division, Mr. Wahidul Haque, Range Officer, Teknaf Range Office; Mr. Sunil Kumar Deb Roy, Range Officer, Whykeong Range Office; Mr. Mir Ahmed, Range Officer, Inani Range Office; Mr. Tawhidul Alam, Beat Officer, Swankhali Beat Office, all from Bangladesh Forest Department; Azizar Rahman, Shibli Sadik, Md. Sharifuzzaman, Md. Ariful Islam, Joydeb Dhar, Jahirul Haque Shawon, Aznabi Nahid, Kolyan Mondal, Sajib Rudro, Ariful Islam, Ferdaous Alam, Farzana Rahman, Tanjina Alam, Md. Mizanur Rahman, Suravi Ahmed, Tauhidul Islam, Rafiqul Islam, Sabbir Husain Khan and Mr. Amin Ullah (Sona Mia) for their participation and cooperation during the field study.





Abstract: We performed a comparative study of birds in Teknaf Wildlife Sanctuary (TWS), Inani Reserve Forest (IRF) and the Chittagong University Campus (CUC) in 2015. A total of 249 species belonging to 50 families were recorded: 210 species from 46 families in TWS, 187 species from 45 families in IRF, and 182 species from 45 families in CUC. Of these, 181 species (73%) were resident, 57 (23%) winter visitors, three (1.20%) summer visitors, two (0.80%) passage migrants and five (2%) vagrants. According to their frequency of occurrence, 73 species (29.32%) were very common, 66 (26.5%) common, 62 (25%) uncommon and 48 (19%) rare. 120 species (48%) were passerines (97 in TWS, 95 in IRF and 97 in CUC) and 129 (52%) non-passerines (113 in TWS, 92 in IRF and 85 in CUC). Among the three areas, TWS had the greatest diversity in terms of total species, (210˃187˃182), residents (161˃148˃134), non-residents (49˃48˃39), forest indicator birds (47˃44˃31) and wading birds (48˃34˃24).

Keywords: Bangladesh, Birds, Chittagong University Campus, comparative study, diversity, Inani Reserve Forest, Teknaf Wildlife Sanctuary.




Diversity of avifauna is one of the most important ecological indicators for evaluating the quality of habitats (Johnston & Odum 1956; Morrison 1986; Welsh 1987; Koskimies 1989; Temple & Weins 1989; Browder et al. 2002), since flying birds react rapidly to habitat changes (Hilden 1965; Morrison 1986; Fuller et al. 1995; Louette et al. 1995). Bangladesh is home to about 700 species of birds (Khan 2015), representing 50% of total species on the Indian subcontinent and 7% of global species (Harvey 1990; Khan 2008). Previous studies of avian diversity reported 286 species of birds in Teknaf Wildlife Sanctuary (TWS; Khan et al. 1994), from which Khan (2013) later annotated a list of 243 species, and Ahsan & Khanom (2005) recorded 92 bird species in the Chittagong University campus. Though comparative study is very important to justify the habitat quality of birds, but in Bangladesh only one comparative study on the birds of five protected areas (Lawachara, Satchori, Rema-Kalenga, Chunati and Teknaf) was done by Khan & Aziz (2014 ).

Three different types of area were selected to study the diversity of birds and to compare populations associated with specific types of habitat. TWS is a peninsular landmass protected as a sanctuary since 2010 by an amendment under the provision of Bangladesh Wildlife (Preservation) (Amendment) Act, 1974 (now the act is called Wildlife [Conservation and Security] Act, 2012), it was previously classed as a Game Reserve. It is also an Ecologically Critical Area declared by the Department of the Environment in 1999. Inani Reserve Forest (IRF) is not officially a protected area but is conserved by legal means. Chittagong University Campus (CUC) is a semi-urbanized area that is neither included in the list of protected areas nor conserved by the government as a wildlife habitat. Thus, Teknaf Wildlife Sanctuary, Inani Reserve Forest and Chittagong University Campus are quite different habitats for birds.



Teknaf Wildlife Sanctuary

is located in Teknaf sub-district of Cox’s Bazar District at the southeast corner of Bangladesh (20052’–21009’N & 92008’–92018’E). TWS is bounded by the Naf River in the east, the plains of Teknaf peninsula in the south, the Bay of Bengal in the west, and Inani Reserve Forest in the north (Figs. 1,2). It is about 50km south of Cox’s Bazar and runs along the longest beach in the world (Cox’s Bazar Beach). The sanctuary is comprised of 10 forest beats under three forest ranges of Cox’s Bazar (south) Forest Division. It is a hilly mixed-evergreen sub-tropical forest with secondary plantations and covers an area of 11,615ha with a length of 32km (north-south) and width of 5km at the north end and 3km at the south end. The highest elevation in TWS is 284m at Toingya of Shilkhali Forest Range, although Bari & Dutta (2004) and Feeroz (2013) mentioned that it is 700m. The area consists of intervals of steep hills and valleys. The moist sub-tropical maritime climate of the sanctuary has three seasons: spring (March to April), monsoon (May to October) and winter (November to February; Bari & Dutta 2004). The sanctuary is rich in flora and contains several different ecosystems including hill forest, mangrove formation and sand-dune (Uddin et al. 2013). Feeroz (2013) recorded a total of 538 plant species under 102 families and 370 genera from TWS: 143 trees, 113 shrubs, 184 herbs, 87 climbers, 10 epiphytes and 1 parasite.



Inani Reserve Forest

(Figs. 1,3) is located in Ukhiya subdistrict of Cox’s Bazar (21009’–21017’N & 92002’–92011’E) is surrounded by Himchari National Park in the north, TWS in the south, a suburban area in the east and the Bay of Bengal in the west. It is about 22km south of Cox’s Bazar and runs along Cox’s Bazar beach. It comprises four Forest Beats under Inani Range of Cox’s Bazar (south) Forest Division. IRF is a hilly area with mixed-evergreen forest and secondary plantations (Jashimuddin 2010) covering an area of 8,200ha with about 22km length and maximum 5km width. IRF has the same climate, seasons and vegetation as TWS. Kabir (2012) mentioned that forests which support rich biodiversity remain in the IRF, although according to DeCosse (2007) and M.F. Ahsan (pers. obs. since 1981) some areas that were natural low or high dense forest in the past have become scattered grasslands, agricultural lands and scattered trees.


Chittagong University Campus

(Figs. 1,4) is situated at Zubra Village under Fatehpur union parishad of Hathazari sub-district in Chittagong District (22027’30”–22029’0”N & 91046’30”–91047’45”E). It is about 22km north of Chittagong, 3km southwest of Hathazari headquarter and about 6km east of the Bay of Bengal. The CUC is 709.82ha in area, surrounded by the Chittagong hill region and bounded by two hill streams from the south and the north. The highest altitude is about 61m on the northwestern side (Faculty of Biological Sciences), and the CUC contains an assortment of hills, lakes, ponds, flat land and valleys (Islam et al. 1979). The CUC shares the same climate and seasons as the other study areas and the vegetation is semi-evergreen (Ahsan & Khanom 2005) with a total of 665 plant species under 126 families and 404 genera, of which 550 are dicotyledons and 115 are monocotyledons (Alam & Pasha 1999).









Field Observations

The study was carried out from January to December 2015. A total of 72 days were spent in the field (24 days in each study area; two days in a month (randaomly). Field observations were done throughout the day, with emphasis on the morning (06:00–10:00 hr) and evening (16:00–19:00 hr) when birds are most active, in order to find them in their natural habitats. The data were collected through Strip transect sampling (Buckland et al. 2001) and opportunistic findings along roads, trails, streams and bridle paths. A total of 23 transects were established to record data: 9 in TWS (Table 1), 7 in IRF (Table 2) and 7 in CUC (Table 3).

Data Collection from Secondary Sources

The source of national status of birds was IUCN Bangladesh (2015). Birds were categorized according to their status as resident or migratory based on Siddiqui et al. (2008). The checklist of the birds of the Oriental region by Inskipp et al. (1996) was followed for English and scientific names.

Species Identification

Observations were carried out with field binoculars (Vixen: 8×32 magnification) during the day. Photographs were taken (Canon 600D with 75–300 mm lens) whenever necessary to identify birds accurately. Identification was done with the help of standard field guides of Ali & Ripley (1995), Kazmierczak & van Perlo (2006) and Grimmett et al. (2013).

Data Analysis

Birds were grouped into four categories based on the frequency of their occurrence: Very Common (VC: observed on ˃75% of total observation days), Common (C: seen on 51–75 % of observation days), Uncommon (UC: recorded on 26–50 % of observation days) and Rare (R: seen on <25% of observation days). Birds considered as forest indicators were those that were not seen outside of forests. Birds were also classed as residents (R), rare or local migrants, seasonal migrants (winter or summer), passage migrants or vagrants.





A total of 249 species of birds under 50 families were recorded from the three study areas (Appendix 1). One-hundred-and-twenty species (48%) were passerines, and 129 (52%) non-passerines. One-hundred-and-eighty-one species (72.7%) were resident, 57 (22.9%) winter visitors, three (1.2%) summer visitors, two (0.8%) passage migrants and five (2%) vagrants. According to their occurrence, 73 species (29.3%) were very common, 66 (26.5%) common, 62 (25%) uncommon and 48 (19.3%) were rare.

While the three study areas have different degrees of official protection, they showed similar levels of species diversity with 210 species belonging to 46 families in TWS, 187 species in 45 families from IRF, and 182 species from 45 families in CUC. A majority of 145 species (58%) were recorded from all three study areas, while 40 (16%) were observed in only two areas and 64 species (25.8%) were restricted to a single area (Fig. 5).

Of the 210 species recorded on TWS, 97 (46%) were passerines and 113 (54%) non-passerines. In TWS, 161 species of birds were resident, 46 winter visitors, one summer visitor and two vagrants. Occurrence of birds of TWS revealed that 73 (35%) species were very common, 59 (28%) common, 52 (25%) uncommon and 26 (12%) were rare (Fig. 6).

Of the 187 species recorded in IRF, 95 (51%) were passerines and 92 (49%) non-passerines. One-hundred-and-forty-eight species were resident, 37 winter visitors and two vagrants. According to relative abundance, 71 (38%) species were very common, 61 (33%) common, 42 (22.5%) uncommon and 13 (7%) were rare (Fig. 7).

Of 182 species of birds observed at CUC, 97 (46%) were passerines and 85 (54%) non-passerines. One-hundred-and-thirty-four species were resident, 39 winter visitors, three summer visitors, four vagrants and two passage migrants. Seventy-three (40%) species of CUC were very common, 56 (31%) common, 32 (17.6%) uncommon and 21 (11.5%) were rare (Fig. 8).

Of the species recorded from the three study areas, 61 (24.5%) could be taken as forest indicators, of which TWS was home for 47 species, IRF for 44 and CUC for 31. Twenty-three of 61 species were common in all three areas. Most species (54 i.e., 88.5%) of forest indicator birds are resident of Bangladesh, except for Black Baza Aviceda leuphotes, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus remifer, Blue Whistling Thrush Myiophonus caeruleus and Blyth’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus reguloides as winter visitors, Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandus as a summer visitor, Pale Blue Flycatcher Cyornis unicolor as a vagrant, and Forest Wagtail Dendronanthus indicus as a passage migrant.

Fifty-two of 249 species observed from three study areas were wading birds: 48 at TWS, 34 at IRF and 25 at CUC, with almost half (23 species) of these being winter visitors to Bangladesh. Species diversity of wading birds was the highest in TWS, consistent with the higher local abundance of wetlands compared to the other study areas.

According to IUCN Bangladesh (2015), three species observed in the study areas are classed as Vulnerable in Bangladesh: Kalij Pheasant Lophura leucomelanos and Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus in TWS and CUC, and Yellow-eyed Babbler Chrysomma sinense from TWS only. Three species are also considered as Near Threatened (NT) in Bangladesh: Grey-headed Fish Eagle Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus observed in all three areas, Great Slaty Woodpecker Mulleripicus pulverulentus in TWS, and White-browed Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus schisticeps. The Crow-billed Drongo observed in IRF and CUC is considered as Data Deficient (DD) in Bangladesh. Twenty-one species were also recorded during the study period that were previously considered as Data Deficient (DD) in Bangladesh (IUCN Bangladesh 2000). Among them, nine were recorded as Rare species during this study: Great Slaty Woodpecker Mulleripicus pulverulentus, Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus and White-crested Laughing thrush Garrulax leucolophus from TWS; Barred Buttonquail Turnix suscitator and Blue-bearded Bee-eater Nyctyornis athertoni from IRF; Blue-naped Pitta Pitta nipalensis from CUC; Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron curvirostra and Rufescent Prinia Prinia rufescens from TWS and IRF; and Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus from TWS and CUC. Besides these, 8 were observed as Uncommon (Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis from TWS; Large Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus hypoleucos from IRF; Olive Bulbul Pycnonotus virescens from TWS and IRF; and Asian Barred Owlet Glaucidium cuculoides, Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni, Oriental Honey-Buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo and Thick-billed Flowerpecker Dicaeum agile from all three areas). Moreover, four species of birds were considered as Common during this study (Orange-bellied Flowerpecker Dicaeum trigonistigma, Grey-headed Fish Eagle Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus, Common Green Magpie Cissa chinensis and Black-headed Cuckooshrike Coracina melanoptera), the first one was seen at IRF and the rest in the all three areas.







The total species of birds (249) recorded from our three study areas represent >30% of species occurring in Bangladesh (711; Khan 2015) and about 18% of Indian subcontinental species (1375; Grimmett et al. 2013). The study areas differ considerably in size: TWS (11,615ha), IRF (8,200ha) and CUC (709.82ha), and in availability of habitats. Yet the total species numbers recorded were similar: CUC (182), TWS (210) and IRF (187; Figs. 9,10), as were numbers of very common species: 73 in TWS, 71 in IRF and 73 in CUC, and Common species: 60 in TWS, 61 in IRF and 56 in CUC. Most of the Uncommon birds were recorded from TWS (51 of 62 species), with 42 in IRF and 32 in CUC. A similar pattern was observed for Rare birds, with 26 of 47 species observed in TWS, 21 in CUC and 13 in IRF, and for forest indicator birds, with 47 species recorded in TWS, 44 in IRF and 31 in CUC (Fig. 11). Wading birds were most abundant in TWS with 48 species, 34 in IRF and 24 in CUC (Fig. 11).




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