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International Journal of Zoology Studies An overview study of birds in south Sikkim (India)

Authors:
  • Nar Bahadur Bhandari degree college, gangtok
  • Sikkim Government College, Namchi Kamrang South Sikkim
Article

International Journal of Zoology Studies An overview study of birds in south Sikkim (India)

Abstract and Figures

Sikkim (270 03’-280 07’N & 880 03’-880 57’E), a small state lies on the foothills of Himalayas, comprising only of 7096 sq km, having a varied climatic condition and vegetation, ranging from cold desert in the north to the lowland forest in south. The study of avian faunal diversity is an essential ecological tool, which acts as an indicator to evaluated different habitats both qualitatively and quantitatively the present day study was carried out to document the avian diversity in South District of Sikkim (Tarey Bhir and Melli Dara). A total of 51 species of birds belonging to 24 families were recorded. In terms of family richness, Corvidae dominates in the field of study areas, comprising 6 species followed by Muscicapidae with 5 species, Pycnonotidae and Turdidae with 4 species each. The present day study adds some valuable information on bird diversity in the study area.
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International Journal of Zoology Studies
ISSN: 2455-7269; Impact Factor: RJIF 5.14
Received: 07-01-2021; Accepted: 19-02-2021; Published: 12-03-2021
www.zoologyjournals.com
Volume 6; Issue 2; 2021; Page No. 12-17
An overview study of birds in south Sikkim (India)
Pamina Chettri1, John Bhutia2, Bishnu K Sharma3*
1 Department of Zoology, Namchi Government College, Kamrang South, Sikkim, India
2 Department of Zoology, Nar Bahadur Bhandari Degree College, Tadong, Gangtok, Sikkim, India
3 Department of Botany, Namchi Government College, Kamrang South, Sikkim, India
Abstract
Sikkim (27003’-28007’N & 88003’-88057’E), a small state lies on the foothills of Himalayas, comprising only of 7096 sq km,
having a varied climatic condition and vegetation, ranging from cold desert in the north to the lowland forest in south. The
study of avian faunal diversity is an essential ecological tool, which acts as an indicator to evaluated different habitats both
qualitatively and quantitatively the present day study was carried out to document the avian diversity in South District of
Sikkim (Tarey Bhir and Melli Dara). A total of 51 species of birds belonging to 24 families were recorded. In terms of family
richness, Corvidae dominates in the field of study areas, comprising 6 species followed by Muscicapidae with 5 species,
Pycnonotidae and Turdidae with 4 species each. The present day study adds some valuable information on bird diversity in the
study area.
Keywords: birds, conservation, corvida, diversity and Sikkim
Introduction
Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrates constituting
the class Aves, characterized by feathers, toothless beaked
jaws, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate,
a four-chambered heart, and a strong yet lightweight
skeleton. Birds live worldwide and range in size from 5 cm
to 2.75 m i.e. Humming bird and Ostrich respectively. Birds
and their diversity provide strong bio-indication signals
(Vielliard 2000; Bhatt and Joshi 2011; Urfi 2011; Bregman
et al. 2014) [54, 10, 53, 15] and stand as surrogates for the health
of ecosystem and status of biodiversity overall (Chettri
2010; Pakkala et al. 2014; Pierson et al. 2015) [17, 41, 43].
Compared to other wildlife species, the conservation status,
distribution, and population trends of Indian birds are
particularly well known (Mohd. Shahnawaz Khan, Anjana
Pant, 2017) [30].
Sikkim (27° 05' - 28° 09' North and 87° 59' - 88° 56' East) is
one of the smallest and the least populous states in India. It
covers an area of 7,096 sq. km, extending approximately
114 km from North to South and 64 km from East to West.
The state of Sikkim with its unique position in the mighty
Himalayas and status as a hotspot of the variety of life is
like a beautiful diverse of flora and fauna (Lachungpa et al.,
2007) [36].
Sikkim has a rich diversity of birds, shows a total of 574
species belonging to 253 genera and 55 families under 16
avian orders (Acharya and Vijayan, 2011) [3, 4]. Along the
elevation gradient, species richness follows uni-model
pattern with maximum species at mid-elevation zone.
Sikkim has always been difficult for wildlife research
because of physical features (Acharya and Vijayan, 2010,
2011) [3, 4]. The state of Sikkim has been placed within the
Eastern Himalaya Endemic Bird Area (Bird life
International, 2001; Islam & Rahmani, 2004) [13, 27] which
harbours 22 restricted range bird species, of which 19 are
endemic to the Eastern Himalayas (Jathar & Rahmani, 2006;
Stattersfield et al., 1998) [28, 51].
The south district of Sikkim lies at an altitude of 400 mtr to
2000 mtr with terraced slopes interrupted by spring patched
forest. The district also comprises two sanctuaries (Kitam
Bird Sanctuary and Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary).
Materials and methods
Study Areas
For the study, the two different areas were selected, that are
Melli Dara and Tarey Bhir.
Melli Dara
Melli Dara falls on the southern part of Sikkim. It is located
on the foothills of Taray Bhir. The areas receive rainfall i.e.
3137 mm. which is 123.5 inch per year compared to other
region of the ranges in between 23.60 C/74.40 F. The area
has a diversity of its own. It has huge agricultural practices
and diverse kinds of crops and vegetables, etc. are grown.
It is home to varieties of species of animals, birds, etc. The
animals keep wandering in and around the necessary regions
in search of food and crops grown in the field. There are
enough forest areas to hold varieties of bird species and
different wild animals. The area has been a habitat to few
animals such as Monkeys, Peafowls, wild pig. These
animals are found foraging in the fields.
Tarey Bhir
Tarey Bhir lying at topmost part of Melli Dara, Paiyong, the
majestic hilly terrain has its own beautiful charm. It has lots
of Pine tree around the region due to which the hill top is
always covered with mist. Due to arid region of Tarey Bhirit
has unique diversity of plants and animals. The whole
terrain comprises a diverse number of plants, birds,
butterflies, insects, etc. The two study areas differ slightly in
elevation and vegetation which provides different habitats
for birds. The vegetation and climatic composition could
impact the quantity and quality of habitat for birds in terms
of food, water, breeding ground etc. which can further affect
diversity, abundance and distribution of birds (Aggrawal A,
Tiwari G, Harsh, S. A. 1998; Abdar, M. R. 2013).
International Journal of Zoology Studies www.zoologyjournals.com
13
Fig 1: Map of study area (Taray Bhir and Melli Dara, South
Sikkim).
Comprehensive avian surveys were conducted in the study
area for one year from April 2019 to March 2020 by
employing the following standard methods i.e. Point count
method.
Point count method
In this method, the observer will stand in a haphazardly
chosen point and record bird species seen and heard in a 50
m radius for 5 minutes. This observation is repeated in
another point at least 300 m off from the first point. In
addition to this, opportunistic bird sightings were made,
while travelling within the study region (Emlen et al., 1974;
Hill et al., 2015; Sutherland et al., 2006; Nautiyal et al.,
2015.). Survey and observations were made twice a day
when avifauna was usually most active (05:00 am to 10 am
and 03:00 pm to 06:00 pm). Birds were observed with the
help of an Olympus Binocular (8X42) and photographs
taken using a Nikon D5300 and D3400. Sometimes, birds
were identified by listening to their calls. Identification of
birds were done by using standard field guides (Ali et al.,
1983, Manakadan, et al., 2001, Arlott et al., 2014, Grimmett
et al., 2011) [24].
Results and Discussion
A total of 51 birds belonging to 24 families were recorded
from the study areas. The most dominating family is
Corvidae with 6 species followed by Muscicapidae with 5
species followed by Pycnonotidae and Terdidae with 4
species each and so on. The above findings reveal that the
areas taken for study are highly diverse. The detailed
checklist of the avifauna of study area is given below in
table 1.
Table 1: Checklist of Avian fauna with their distribution (Status: IUCN-3.1 Least Concern).
Sl. No
Scientific Name
Common name
Family
Order
Distribution
1 Accipiter virgatus Besra Accipitridae Passerine
The Besra species are distributed in India, Pakistan,
Nepal, Central and South China, Southeast Asia,
Indonesia and Phillipines
2 Acridotheres tristis Common Myna Sturnidae Passerine
Widespread resident; unrecorded in parts of North West
and North East subcontinent
3
Aethopyga nipalensis
Green-tailed Sunbird
Nectariniidae
Passeriformes
Himalayas and North East India
4 Aethopyga siparaja Crimson Sunbird Nectariniidae Passeriformes
Himalayas, hills of North East and Eastern India and
Bangladesh; also North and North Eastern plains in
winter
5 Anthus hodgsoni Olive Backed Pipit Motacillidae Passeriformes
Breeds in Himalayas; widespread in winter, except
North West and South East.
6
Chrysocolaptes lucidus
Greater goldenback
Picidae
Piciformes
Himalayas, hills of India and Bangladesh
7 Cissa chinensis
Common Green
Magpie
Corvidae Passeriformes Himalayas, North East India and Bangladesh
8 Columba livia Rock Pigeon Columbidae
Columbiformes
Widespread resident; unrecorded in parts of NW and
NE subcontinent
9 Copsychus saularis
Oriental Magpie
Robin
Muscicapidae Passeriformes
Widespread resident; unrecorded in most of the
northwest
10 Corvus corax
Common Raven/
Northern Raven
Corvidae Passerine High himalayas
11 Corvus culminatus Indian Jungle Crow Corvidae Passerine
Base of Himalayas to Sri Lanka, absent from North
West
12 Corvus macrorhynchos Large Billed Crow Corvidae Passerine
Mountains of North Baluchistan and Himalayas from
North Pakistan East to Arunachal
13
Corvus splendens
House Crow
Corvidae
Passerine
Widespread resident
14
Delichon nipalense
Nepal House Martin
Hirundinidae
Passerine
Himalayas
15 Dendrocitta formosae Grey Treepie Corvidae Passeriformes
Himalayas, North East India, Eastern Ghats and
Bangladesh
16 Dicrurus hottentottus
Spangled Drongo/
Hair-crested Drongo
Dicruridae Passeriformes
Himalayan foothills, North East India, Bangladesh and
Eastern and Western Ghats
17 Dicrurus leucophaeus Ashy Drongo Dicruridae Passeriformes
Breeds in Himalayas and North East Indian hills;
winters in plains in peninsula and Sri Lanka
18
Dicrurus macrocercus
Black Drongo
Dicruridae
Passerine
Widespread resident
19
Eudynamys scolopaceus
Asian Koel
Cuculidae
Passerine
Widespread
20 Garrulax striatus
Striated Laughing
Thrush
Turdidae Passeriformes Himalayas and North East India
21 Halcyon smyrnensis
White throated
kingfisher
Alcedinidae Coraciiformes
Widespread resident
22 Hemipus picatus
Bar Winged
Flycatcher Shrike
Vangidae Passerine Himalayas, hills of India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka
23
Hypsipetes leucocephalus
Black Bulbul
Pycnonotidae
Passeriformes
Himalayas and North East India
International Journal of Zoology Studies www.zoologyjournals.com
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24
Lanius schach
Long Tailed Shrike
Laniidae
Passeriformes
Widespread resident
25 Lanius tephronotus Grey Backed Shrike Laniidae Passerine
Breeds in Himalayas; winters in Himalayas and on
adjacent plains in North and North East India and in
Bangladesh
26
Malacias capistratus
Rufous Sibia
Leiothrichidae
Passerine
Himalayas
27
Megalaima asiatica
Blue Throated Barbet
Ramphastidae
Piciformes
Himalayas, North East India and Bangladesh
28
Megalaima virens
Great Barbet
Ramphastidae
Piciformes
Himalayas, North East India and Bangladesh
29 Monticola cinclorhynchus
Blue-capped Rock
Thrush
Turdidae Passeriformes
Summer visitor to Himalayas; winters mainly in
Western Ghats
30 Myophonus caeruleus
Blue Whistling
Thrush
Turdidae Passeriformes North Baluchistan, Himalayas and North East India
31 Niltava sundara
Rufous-bellied
Niltava
Muscicapidae Passeriformes Himalayas and North East India
32 Orthotomus sutorius Common Tailor Bird CistIcolidae Passerine
Widespread resident. Only tailorbird throughout most
of range
33
Parus monticolus
Green-backed tit
Paridae
Passeriformes
Himalayas and North East Indian hills
34 Passer domesticus House Sparrow Passeridae Passerine
Widespread resident, except in parts of North East and
North West subcontinent
35
Passer rutilans
Russet Sparrow
Passeridae
Passeriformes
Himalayas and North East Indian hills
36 Pavo cristatus Indian Peafowl Phasianidae Galliformes
India, South East Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and
Bhutan
37
Pericrocotus (flammeus)
speciosus
Scarlet Minivet
Campephagidae
Passeriformes
Himalayas, hills of Central and Eastern India, Eastern
Ghats of North Andhra, Andamans and Bangladesh
38 Phoenicurus frontalis Blue-fronted Redstart
Muscicapidae Passeriformes
Breeds in Himalayas; winters in Himalayan foothills,
North East India and Bangladesh
39
Phylloscopus xanthoschistos
Grey Hooded Warbler
Muscicapidae
Passerine
Himalayas and North East Indian hills
40 Picus canus
Grey headed
woodpecker
Picidae Passeriformes Himalayas, North East and East India, and Bangladesh
41
Picus flavinucha
Greater Yellownape
Picidae
Piciformes
Himalayas, North East and East India and Bangladesh
42
Pycnonotus cafer
Red Vented Bulbul
Pycnonotidae
Passeriformes
Widespread resident
43
Pycnonotus leucogenys
Himalayan Bulbul
Pycnonotidae
Passeriformes
North Pakistan hills and Himalayas
44
Pycnonotus(melanicterus)
flaviventris
Black Crested Bulbul
Pycnonotidae Passerine Himalayas, North East India and Bangladesh
45
Rhopodytes tristis
Green Billed Malkoha
Cuculidae
Cuculiformes
Himalayas, North East and East India and Bangladesh
46 Saxicola ferreus Grey Bushchat Muscicapidae Passeriformes
Breeds in Himalayas and North East Indian hills,
winters south to North Indian plains.
47 Stigmatopelia chinensis Spotted Dove Columbidae
Columbiformes
Widespread resident; unrecorded in most of northwest
and North Himalayas.
48 Streptopelia orientalis Oriental Turtle Dove Columbidae
Columbiformes
Himalayas, North East India and Bangladesh south to
Central peninsular India and Sri Lanka.
49
Tephrodornis virgatus
Large Wood Shrike
Vangidae
Passerine
50 Turdus boulboul
Grey Winged
Blackbird
Turdidae Passeriformes
Resident in Himalayas and winters South to North East
India
51 Zosterops palpebrosus Oriental White Eye Zosteropidae Passeriformes
Widespread resident; unrecorded in parts of the
northwest.
Fig 2: Number of Species in various Families
The most commonly observed species during survey are
Copsychus saularis, Megalaima virens, Zosterops
palpebrosus, Lanius schach, Acridotheres tristis and
bulbuls. The least abundant species includes Hemipus
picatus, Aethopyga siparaja, Aethopyga nipalensis (Table-2
& Fig.-2).
International Journal of Zoology Studies www.zoologyjournals.com
15
Conclusion
Total of 51 species of birds were observed from the study
area and the study also revealed that, the diversity of birds
in Tarey Bhir is slightly low as compared to Melli Dara,
because the vegetation of Tarey Bhir is slightly arid due to
high wind flow over the area. Another reason might be the
scarcity of food and foraging area which plays a vital role in
the diversity of avian fauna. This finding provides small
information about how diverse these areas are. Out of 78
threatened birds of Indian Sub-continent, 17 (1 Endangered,
3 Critically Endangered and 13 Vulnerable) occur in Sikkim
(IUCN 2009). Similarly, 10 Near Threatened species of
birds are also reported from Sikkim (Acharya and Vijayan
2010, 2011) [3, 4]. But no threatened bird species were
recorded during the span of one year form the study area.
The present work provides small information for future
studies in this area and also this study will help to make
decisions for conservation and management of avian fauna
in this region.
Fig 3: Photographs of some bird species from study area
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Article
Full-text available
Sikkim (27 0 03'-28 0 07'N & 88 0 03'-88 0 57'E), a small state lies on the foothills of Himalayas, comprising only of 7096 sq km, having a varied climatic condition and vegetation, ranging from cold desert in the north to the lowland forest in south. The study of avian faunal diversity is an essential ecological tool, which acts as an indicator to evaluated different habitats both qualitatively and quantitatively The present day study was carried out to documents the avian diversity in South District of Sikkim. A total of 100 species of birds belonging to 35 families were recorded. In terms of familial richness, muscicapidae dominates in the field of study areas, comprising 16 species followed by turdidae with 8 species, corvdae with 6 species. The present day study adds some valuable information on avian diversity in the study area.
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Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas in India Priority Sites for Conservation The updated second edition "Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas in India" (2016) published by Bombay Natural History Society alongwith BirdLife International and RSPB, UK is now available for free download. The book has 554 IBAs, including 88 new IBAs across India. The PDF of the book, each chapter for one state is now uloaded on BNHS website.
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