Ecology and Conservation of Threatened Birds in and around Navegaon National Park, Maharashtra

Paliwal, G.T. and Bhandarkar, S. V.

Birds, the warm-blooded bipeds with amazing adaptations evolved millions of years ago from reptiles. These colorful, delicate- looking, highly evolved animals are the only creatures with feathered wings that make them capable of true and perfect flight. This ecologically valuable group of vertebrates is the subject of the present study which deals with ecology and conservation status of threatened birds in and around Navegaon National Park, Maharashtra state.  Navegaon National park, commonly known as Navegaon Bandh, is located in Gondia district. It lies between 200 45’ to 210 2’ North Latitude and 800 5’ to 800 15’ East Longitude. It is popular in the eastern Vidarbha region of Maharashtra for diversity of vegetation ranging from dry mixed forest to rain forest. This southern tropical dry forest is enriched with varied wildlife, and is an important conservation unit in central India.  birds visit this beautiful lake every winter. The most important habitat in the park is the Navegaon Lake, home to many bird species. Flocks of migratory A total of 312 bird species from 57 different families under 14 orders have been recorded (Paliwal G.T., 2013). Among these 252 were local residents, 53 winter visitors, 05 passage migrants and 02 breeding migrants. Out of total 312 avian species recorded, 12 are listed under different threatened categories (Birdlife International 2013). Ecology and conservation of these threatened species is discussed in the present study.

Keywords: Ecology | Conservation | Threatened | Navegaon Bandh


Unique bio geographical features of Maharashtra have put the Maharashtra state in the list of hotspots of biodiversity. This diversity is also reflected in the avifauna of the state. About 568 different species of birds occur in Maharashtra. Recent studies indicate that habitat loss, fragmentation, over-exploitation of our natural resources, pollution, industrialization, urbanization etc. are posing great threats to the birdlife. In many parts of urban areas it has been observed that sighting of House Sparrow has become rare in recent years. It is alarming to note that in India about 30 species are categorized as Endangered, 52 species are Vulnerable and about 66 species are Near Threatened which needs adequate conservation planning.
The 20th Century is witness to three phenomena of great ecological consequences. Un-precedence population growth, large scale Industrialization & Intensive agriculture based on large scale inputs of synthetic fertilizers & insecticides. All three had an immensely adverse impact on the all resources of biodiversity.  Terrestrial & associated aquatic habitats maintain ecological balance of flora & fauna interrelationship, regulate surrounding climate & recharge ground water.
Aquatic invertebrates are important as a source of food for birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles & other invertebrates. Changes in terrestrial & aquatic habitat lead to changes in invertebrate assemblages which in turn increase, decrease or change food supplies for other mammals. Navegaon National park is rich in bird fauna associated with it that includes some migratory species & ecologically an important landmark. Flocks of migratory birds visit this beautiful lake every winter. About 60 species of migratory birds visit this lake which indicates that the park and the lake is rich enough to attract these birds and induce them to spend the winter here. The National park has all the mammals that can be expected in any good protected forest of central India.  In our preliminary studies 312 species of birds, 60 species of mammals & 46 species of herpets were recorded from this National park (Paliwal G.T. 2013).
Adequate information on this aspect of birdlife in Maharashtra is not available and immediate attention is the need of the hour. In this context it becomes necessary to identify such species & draw up a conservation plan for their sustainable existence.