1. House sparrow Population decline
  2. Long billed Vultures
  3. Lake Kolleru & its bird sanctuary
  4. 15 Indian birds globally endangered
  5. Amur Falcon
  6. Nicobar scrubfowl/Megapod
  7. Narcondam Hornbill
  8. Mock Questions

House sparrow Population decline

  • House sparrows found around the world, except in the Polar Regions.
  • IUCN status: Least concern
  • March 20 – World Sparrow Day. (from 2010 onwards)
  • Declared state bird of Delhi.
  • Have a symbiotic relationship with humans for the past 10,000 years. Hence their disappearance hints rapid degradation of environment.
Why sparrows disappearing from cities?
Cause Consequence
  1. Vegetation loss
  2. Although posh families doing gardening, but they use too much chemicals, no insects survive.
  3. Mosquito and insect repellents
  4. 1962: Rachael Carson’s book Silent Spring- discussed how insecticides are becoming ‘biocides’ and killing many organisms directly and indirectly.
  • Insects gone, less food.
  • While adult sparrow can survive on grains, but young chicks insects for protein.
  1. Grains being stored in plastic bags instead of jute bags
  2. Even if grains rotting at railway stations, sparrows avoid it due to pesticides. Even in microlevels, pesticides can kill it.
Less food for sparrows
  1. Less trees, more Concrete buildings, AC windows without gaps and ridges
Sparrows can’t make nests.
  1. Glass panels in buildings- reflecting the images of nearby trees.
Sparrows mistake them for real trees- crash while flying.
  1. Vehicles: Noise and air pollution
  2. Electromagnetic Radiation from cell towers, wifi etc.
Negative impact on bird life cycle.
  • Sparrows are resilient, they migrate to safer zones, feed at public granaries, market places, ports and rail stations, nest at nearby sites and adapt to stabilize their population.
  • But gradually, all such places are becoming unsuitable for the sparrows.

Long billed Vultures

  • IUCN status: Critically Endangered
  • Where? only in Nilgiri hills [North-Eastern slops]
  • other vulture species in Nilgiris=White-backed vulture, King vulture and Egyptian vulture
  • Threat: anti-inflammatory drug (Diclofenac) used in cattle. When vultures eat such dead cattle, it causes renal (kidney) failure in the vulture => death.
  • Solution? = educate farmers to use another drug called Meloxicam
Some State birds GK
Jammu and Kashmir Black Necked Crane
Haryana Black Francolin
Gujarat Greater Flamingo
Maharashtra Yellow Footed Green Pigeon.
Delhi House-sparrow

Lake Kolleru & its bird sanctuary

Why in news? Migratory Pelican birds arrived in Kolleru bird sanctuary. [IUCN status: Least concern].

  • Location: Lake Kolleru in Andhra Pradesh.
  • it’s a fresh water lake
  • It’s a Ramsar wetland site
  • located near coast but not a lagoon
  • Enclosed between mouths of Godavari & Krishna Rivers.
  • gets water from Bedameru and Tammileru streams (they get water from Krishna & Godavari)
  • Many islands on this lake.
  • Pallava era copper plates found from the lake.

Threats to Lake Kolleru?

  1. Industrial waste and fertilizers polluting the lake. They promote growth of weed and hyacinth*. Not good for fishes.
  2. Farmers setup artificial saline ponds for hatching fish and prawn. This saline water pollutes ground water.
  3. Borewells in the nearby farms = water table down = salt water intrusion

15 Indian birds globally endangered

Topic in news because Hindu ran a story and UPSC has a nasty habit of asking MCQs related to Endangeredness of xyz bird/animal.

  1. Bengal Florican
Critically Endangered
  • Himalayan Terai (UP, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh
  • farmers destroy Grasslands and scrub forests
  1. Great Indian Bustard
Critically Endangered
  • few birds in Kutch, Maharashtra, Deccan, Rajasthan, Andhra, Karnataka.
  • Almost disappeared from Haryana, Punjab, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu
  • Mine workers lost jobs after closure of Gwalior mine=> resorted o poaching in Ghatigaon sanctuary.
  • Egg collecting in Andhra and Karnataka
  • Bustards like monsoon crops – Sorghum Millet etc but now farmers grow cash crops- sugarcane, cotton etc thanks to irrigation.
  • mining, quarrying, power projects
  • Eucalyptus, Juliflora etc exotic tree species by Forest Department
  1. Sociable Lapwing
critically endangered
  • Kutch and Rajasthan
  • Farmers destroy Grasslands and scrub forests = less moth = less birds.
  • lay eggs on ground-nests. they’re destroyed by grazing sheeps and goats.
  • hunting by nomadic tribes.
  1. Jerdon’s Courser
critically endangered
  • Eastern Ghat Andhra, South MP
  • farmers destroy Grasslands and scrub forests
  • Habitat fragmentation by Telugu-Ganga Canal in Cuddapah District of Andhra
  1. Forest Owlet
Critically Endangered
  • Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha.
  • Central India’s deciduous forest
  • fuel-fodder collection
  • tribal use their eggs, feathers, bones for drum making.
  • Agro-chemicals reduce insect, rodent population.
  1. Spoon-billed Sandpiper
Critically Endangered
  • North East and Bangladesh
  • wetland destruction due to dams
  • foxes and dogs destroy their nests
  1. Siberian Crane
Critically Endangered
  • Migratory – to Keoladeo sanctuary, Rajasthan.
  • Wetland destruction
  1. White-bellied Heron
Critically Endangered
  • North East India, Bhutan, Myanmar
  • wetland destruction for tea plantations
  • Poaching in Namdapha National park
  • forest fires, hydroelectric projects
  1. Red-headed Vulture
Critically Endangered
  • also called Pondicherry
  • Gujarat, North East, Himalayan foothills
  • Diclofenac drug to animals=> dead animal eaten by Vulture => vulture kidney fail by Diclofenac.
  1. Christmas Island Frigate
Critically Endangered
  • originally from Christmas island, Australia.
  • Andaman and Nicobar islands
  • overfishing + marine pollution in Andaman sea
  • Non-Native species “yellow ants”=> baby crabs killed => less food for frigate.
  1. Lesser Florican
  • Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra
  • farmers destroy Grasslands and scrub forests
  1. Egyptian Vulture
  • North Western India
  • electrocution (by powerlines)
  • collisions with wind turbines,
  • and ofcourse Diclofenac
  1. Greater Adjutant (stork)
  • Assam and Bihar.
  • Since they eat carcasses and small animals- people cut the trees to get rid of them from societies and colonies.
  • food chemicals in dumpsters
  1. Masked Finfoot (duck)
  • North East India
  • riverine destroyed for tea plantation
  • illegal felling of trees
  • dam construction- siltation
  • hunting eggs and chicks
  1. Wood Snipe
  • Himalayas & North East
  • Habitat destroyed for tea plantation & jhoom cultivation

Amur Falcon

  • A Migratory bird from Russia.
  • Every year, in October, they arrive in northeast India from Siberia en route to their final destination — Africa.
  • During their flight, they stop the jungles of Nagaland for a while, for food and rest.
  • Why in News? Because some environment activists found that 120,000 to 140,000 birds are being slaughtered in Nagaland every year during their passage through the state, and sold for their meat @local markets.
  • They’ve requested Environment Ministry to take action.
  • India, is a signatory to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), therefore it is Government’s responsibility to provide safe passage to all migratory birds, turtles etc.
Amur Falcon

Amur Falcon

Nicobar scrubfowl/Megapod

  • A bird, only found in Nicobar island.
  • Why in news? Because Navy wanted to setup a missile testing site at Tillanchong Sanctuary in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Environment Ministry rejected it, missile testing project would destroy the habitat of this bird.
  • This Bird is also called Nicobar megapode —because of its large legs.
  • This bird is considered sacred by the Nicobarese people, was hit badly by the Indian Ocean tsunami that destroyed vast swathes of its habitat and nesting grounds.
  • Navy Chief said, “We know that Environment ministry has its reservations. But the fact is we cannot do without our firing range”

Nicobar scrubfowl/Megapod

Narcondam Hornbill

  • Narcondam is an extremely remote, tiny island in the Andaman and Nicobar Island group, and is home to about 300 Narcondam hornbills, a species that is found nowhere else in the world.
  • Why in news? Because The Coast Guard wanted to set up a surveillance radar here, but environment ministry rejected the proposal.

Narcondam Hornbill

Andaman Nicobar Map-click to enlarge

Mock Questions

Q. Kolleru bird sanctuary is enclosed between the mouths of ____ and ____ Rivers.

  1. Godavari, Pennar
  2. Krishna, Pennar
  3. Godavari, Krishna,
  4. Pennar, Polvaram

Q. Which of the following measures will help in biodiversity preservation of Lake Kolleru?

  1. introduction of aquatic plant species called Hyacinth, in this wetland habitat
  2. Providing subsidy to the fisherman in surrounding villages to create artificial ponds for prawn hatching.
  3. Requesting UNFCC Secretariat to grant “Ramsar Wetland site” Status to Lake Kolleru.

Correct choices

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. None of them

Q. Which of the following statements are correct?

  1. Amur falcon is a bird species native to North East India.
  2. Nicobar Megapod is a critically endangered insect under IUCN.

Q2. Narcondam Hornbill Is found in…

  1. Wheeler’s island, Orissa
  2. Salim Ali National Park, Kashmir
  3. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Goa
  4. Andamand Nicobar islands.
  1. Write a short note on the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). 10marks


  1. With respect to, the tussle between Navy/Coast Guards vs. Environment Ministry, What is more important: National security or conservation of an endangered species? And why?
  2. What do you know about Migratory Species? Do you know names of any sites your state/district, that are frequented by migratory species?
  3. There are reports of large scale poaching of Migratory birds in your area. This is the only source of livelihood for many villagers and favorite dish among urban class. Forest officers are reluctant to detain anyone, fearing possible protests and unrest in the villages. As the District collector what steps will you take?