Latest NorthEast India News | Census records 11,689 water birds of 223 species in six Assam wetlands

GUWAHATI: Altogether 11,689 Asian Water Birds (AWB) of 223 species were recorded in the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) 2024 conducted by the Assam State Biodiversity Board (ASBB) in collaboration with the Assam forest department at six wetlands across Assam.

The AWC is part of the global International Waterbird Census (IWC). This citizen-science programme supports the conservation and management of wetlands and waterbirds worldwide.

The census, which began on January 8 ended on Monday (February 12). The census was conducted at Panidehing Bird Sanctuary, Sivasagar; Maguri Motapung Wetland, Tinsukia; Kokilamukh Wetland Complex, Jorhat; Urpad Wetland, Goalpara; Tamranga Wetland, Bongaigaon and Doloni Wetland, Bongaigaon.

During the census, 1288 water birds of 38 species were found at Panidehing Bird Sanctuary, 4454 birds of 60 species at Maguri Motapung, Tinsukia, 1704 birds of 47 species at Kokilamukh Wetland Complex, 3247 species of 36 species at Urpad Wetland, Goalpara, 576 birds of 25 species at Tamranga Wetland, 420 birds of 19 species were recorded at Doloni Wetland, Bongaigaon.

“The names of a few rare migratory bird species encountered are: Norther Shoveller. Ferruginous Duck, Great-crested Grebe, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Northern Pintail, Greylag Goose, Bar-headed Goose, Common Teal, Red Crested Pochard, Tufted Duck etc among other notable species encountered during the census,” said Dr Oinam Sunanda Devi, scientific officer, ASBB.

This census has been conducted by the ASBB since 2022 as per instructions of Wetland International & National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) to involve local stakeholders i.e. Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC) in the existing AWC network for monitoring and conservation of waterbirds,” Dr Devi said.

“At present, due to a lack of manpower and financial resources, ASBB could take up the census activities at select important wetlands situated outside Protected Areas and a few degraded wetlands situated inside Protected Areas. This exercise would also enable the local BMCs to monitor the health of the wetlands under their jurisdiction and take steps to restore and stop further degradation of such wetlands as part of their Biodiversity Management Plans. ASBB plans to expand the exercise of this annual census activity in other wetlands of Assam in the future in collaboration with other stakeholders,” Dr Devi also said.

3043 water birds belonging to 41 different species were counted during the 2023 AWC at Urpad Beel in Assam’s Goalpara district on January 13, 2023.