Rare Aquatic Bird Species of Western Ghats

Jul 31, 2008                                                                                                

There is nothing more colorful, lively and beautiful as birds. They are not just beautiful to behold, they also add immeasurable value to human lives. Their melodious calls and whistling tones are a wake up call to commence the day on a bright note. All birds have recreational value as bird watching. They add colour and variety to any landscape, may it be a pond or a lake. Birds touch us in unexpected ways. In return we can repay them for giving us such enjoyment by providing them with natural habitats. They put forth no demands on mankind, yet as days go by they are threatened. We need to take serious note of their dwindling numbers.

Today, an ever increasing number of people flock to cities in increasing numbers every year. In the coming years our population will become increasingly urbanized. And yet, we recognize that life in a metro or a town can be stressful; but we also know that green spaces, natural areas, artificial ponds, man made lakes and water bodies with aquatic birds and wildlife can relieve the stress and improve our quality of life. It is for this very reason that we need to protect our green spaces and natural forests.

The world has recognized the importance of the Western Ghats for the rich variety of life forms they hold. The mountain ranges and the densely wooded forests accommodate the famous school of life comprising of rare, exotic, native, endangered and endemic bird species. The Western Ghats is also recognized internationally as the “western Ghat Endemic Bird area” and is known to support some rare and globally threatened bird species. It is one of the best birding hot spots in India for variety, beauty, and eco friendliness. Infact, these evergreen forests account for over a third of the bird species endemic to India. The Indian region is home to over 2000 of the world’s 8650 species. In short, the Indian bird check list is twice the size of those of Europe and North America.

The Western Ghat forests; stretching forth thousands of miles are perfect bird sanctuaries because they provide a safe haven for all forms of life. These include scrub forests and the sholas in the low lying rain shadow regions, deciduous and tropical rain forests up to about 1250 meters and montane forests and grass lands reaching a height above 2000 meters.

The mountains encompass a wide range of climate and habitat, which support a wide range of bird species. These forests radiate a wide variety of birds in different shapes, sizes, colors, habits and instincts. Each species is present in select numbers and occupy almost every conceivable niche. The presence of thousands of bird species makes the entire region a paradise for nature lovers.

This article is specially written to facilitate “Daiji World “readers see first hand a few of the rare and exotic AQUATIC bird species of the Western Ghats.


Birds receive immeasurable assistance from the pro active caring of the farming community across the length and breadth of the Western Ghats. Due to the reverence, adulation and protection that farmers have bestowed on the forests, it has resulted in the survival of hundreds of native & endangered bird and animal species. The Indian tradition teaches us that all forms of life, human, animals, birds, and plants are so closely linked, that disturbance in one gives rise to imbalance in the others.

The people of the region have lived for thousands of years in close harmony with nature. A few legends state that the Brahminy duck, was the symbol of fidelity; the pairs mating for life. The Emperor Jehangir noted with amazement the devotion of a sarus crane to its dead mate. The bird refused to leave the bones of its spouse.


By far the major threat affecting bird populations is the unrestricted habitat loss and degradation of aquatic surrounding due to human activities. It is an open secret that more than half of the wet lands, estuaries, mangroves and marsh lands across the length and breadth of the Western Ghats has been destroyed. Lets face it; Wet lands are falling prey to land grabbers. Wet lands in and around cities and towns are drained and raised with soil to accommodate concrete jungles.


Bird conservation practices like prevention or reduction in habitat loss, habitat deterioration and habitat fragmentation need to be high on our agenda, for the simple reason that birds play a vital role in stabilizing food chains and food webs essential for the survival of man. We need to focus on the small details like shielding bird nests, protecting migratory neighborhoods, and providing an ecofriendly environment in order to better appreciate the larger spectrum of life. This will enable us to be conscience to the many dimensions of our existence and treat aquatic birds with respect. A sustainable system empowers global citizens to build better lives. It is our obligation to understand that in nature’s shadow we all co exist.



More than half of the world’s 10,000 bird species depend on forests, marshlands, grasslands, wetlands and mangroves for their survival. These places provide the much needed breeding grounds for avian fauna. But loss of wetlands and introduction of new age chemicals in agriculture is threatening the very life support system because of large scale habitat destruction.

There are new problems that birds need to solve due to man’s continued dominance. Until a few years ago the ornamental lacy plumes of egrets was in great demand for millinery purposes in Europe and America to pander to fashion in women’s dress. The trade in feathers was so lucrative, and the birds were slaughtered almost to a point of extinction. Due to the Wild Birds and Animals Protection Act, the birds are now protected.

Birds have the ability to adapt to so many different types of habitat. However, one question that man has not been able to answer is whether birds can survive the changes humans are making to the world!

Also See:


By Dr.Anand T & Geeta N Pereira
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: We wish to acknowledge and specially thank Mr. Ashley Rasquinha M.S. (U.S.A), (Director - Production, ELECTROPNEUMATICS & HYDRAULICS (I) PVT. LTD. Pune.) For photographing the aquatic birds in the wild. Ashley is a friend of nature and devotes his leisure time for the conservation of wild life.
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Comment on this article

  • Subramaanya C K, Bangalore

    Wed, Dec 19 2012

    Wealth of information Sir. And really appreciable work from you both. Thanks for sharing and wish you all the best in your endeavor.

  • vivek colaco, sakleshpur

    Mon, Jan 25 2010

    Dear Anand and Geetha Thank you for the wonderful articles and pictures of birds they were very interesting because I love birds.

  • Dr.Nischal Rao, London

    Wed, Dec 17 2008

    Splendid article.Thank you both so much for such an informative story.May your tribe flourish.

  • Ramesh Salian, Mangalore

    Wed, Aug 06 2008

    In 90s the environmentalists of Dk district demanded for the carrying capacity of the region. Carrying capacity would have given us the parameters to set up Industries. Unfortunately the state govt. sat on the file and started giving clearance to highly toxic industries in the district.

    Result of this visible in few years. The flora,fauna and healthy beings of the region can only be preserved in photographs. Every civilization decays before collapse. I think we have began to decay. Thanks to Dr.Anand T & Geeta N Pereira for showing us our wealth.


    Sun, Aug 03 2008

    Nice pics,we get to see most of them in coorg.Storks are seen between Coorg and Ranganthittu through the day in paddy fields.

  • rakesh, sakleshpur

    Sat, Aug 02 2008

    Dear Anand n Geeta, Wonderful pics,wonderful article and by wonderful people. All I want to say is you both are contributing so much but certainly you are in a wrong place.I mean to say for your kind of effort you must be on top of the Hierachy.All the unfit persons are sitting there and you are HERE..I seriously don't understand what's going on in GODS mind.

  • Capt.Arul Aranha, Mangalore

    Fri, Aug 01 2008

    Congratulations! Dr.Anand & Ms Geeta Pereira.That's a great job done (As you normally do). Very informative as well!

  • Allen.J.Pais, Siddapur(Coorg)

    Fri, Aug 01 2008

    Dr.Anand it is all your vision & hard work towards awakening & making people realize the requirement to contain this environment, but little will people realize how essential it can be for the future. Your work in Diaji on the Article is excellent & keep up the good work,It has been well appreciated from all of us here. Criticizing will never end,It may take a decade for you to change the attitude & interests of the modern generation,but never give up-Allen Pais(Bhandar-Brunei).

  • Amanda Frank, Mangalore

    Fri, Aug 01 2008

    Yes there is nothing more colorful,lively and beautiful as birds. Bird watching is a very popular pastime. Strict laws must be enacted to protect the native as well as birds from other countries. Thank you Dr. Anand and Geeta for giving us an opportunity to see first hand rare and exotic aquatic birds of the Western Ghats

  • Raymond Govias, Dallas, Texas

    Fri, Aug 01 2008

    Dear Anand, & Geeta, "Congratulation" on the splendid article. It is clear evidence that we need to respect God's own creation and protect them to our utmost. We do not need to feed them for they could fend for themselves. Instead what needs to be done is to leave them alone in peace and educate our children of today so that they could deepen their understanding of nature and how we the human race benefit from it. Good luck and God bless.

  • Mohan H Naik, Mangaluru

    Fri, Aug 01 2008

    Fantastic photos.Deforestation if continues at present phase, coming generations may not have chance to witness nature at its best.Congrats to the authors/photographer.

  • A.D'Cunha Shenoy, Mangaluru

    Thu, Jul 31 2008

    Dear Dr. Anand and Dr Geeta, The human habitat was created for us and the birds, animals and insects and the like. We got to live with nature and protect it always. Modern life is very greedy and destructive. Western Ghats are the sanctuaries for all speecies in India. Its wonderful. Excellent article and thanks for both of you for sharing this. You both are one of a kind and it would be my pleasure, one day, to meet both of you. I like wild life and remote living as you do.


    Thu, Jul 31 2008

    Birds, I guess one in three people are interested or somehow connected with them. After reading the informative article and seeing the beautiful birds, may help people better understand the value of birds.

  • Clare Fred Pais & Meera Lobo, Bangalore / Park View Bangalore

    Thu, Jul 31 2008

    Anand & Geetha - read your article and congrats a good job done. Wish you had also added the other animals - flying squirrel and other such - in all a very good presentation, proud to be connected to the authors

  • Nihal Joseph Pereira, Mangalore

    Thu, Jul 31 2008

    I am studying in standard 5 .we have environmental science as one of our study subjects.Your article and pictures has helped me to do my project and it has also deepened my understanding of rare birds.Thank you very much.

  • Payal Pereira, mangalore

    Thu, Jul 31 2008

    After going through this splendid article it is clearly evident that we need to give adequate space and protection to the avian fauna . After all, many of the migratory birds are our guests.They have travelled thousands of miles and are on a brief stop over in the Western ghats In the true Indian tradition we need to show our hospitality by providing food and safe haven for these beautiful feathered birds.

  • Rudolf, Mangalore/Mumbai

    Thu, Jul 31 2008

    Congrats to Dr. Anand, Geeta, and Ashley for giving us Daijiworld viewers a wonderful view of the avian fauna from the Western Ghats which are, otherwise, rare to spot in the concrete jungles in and around Mangalore. It is also very encouraging to note that in this materialistic world there are people who still adore nature and do their best to educate people & thereby indirectly influence in protecting the remaining endagered species of birds. If this article brings some semblence of an awareness regarding the importance of conserving these beautiful creations of God in atleast 25% of the viewers it would have fulfilled its aim.

    It is high time people know the immense value of conserving forests and greenlands for the welfare of the future generations. Excellent writeup and beautiful pictures! Keep up the good work guys! Cheers!!

  • Astro Mohan, Udupi

    Thu, Jul 31 2008

    Warm greetings from Astro mohan. Saw the rare aquatic Bird Species of Western Ghats article.. It is simply superb. Very nice narration and very good pictures. I expect more postings on this. I congratulate the Pereira couple I wish them best of luck.

  • Naveen and Yvonne Frank, Mangalore / Sharjah

    Thu, Jul 31 2008

    Excellent article , Dr Anand and Geeta. It is amazing to note that we have such a variety birds in our backyard which we fail to notice. Your informative article and fascinating pictures of Ashley should be an eye opener to all of us to look beyond the Mangalorean crow and catch a glimpse of the beauty that lies beyond ! .

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