Bird census explores Coringa's fauna diversity

The Census has recorded 26,734 birds of 96 species, including 47 migratory species such as Great Knot and Indian Skimmer, in the diverse ecosystem of mudflats, mangrove cover, marshy and wetland.

The Asian Waterfowl Census-2020 has documented the diversity of fauna in the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary and its surroundings in the Godavari estuary recording a whopping 26,734 birds of 96 species belonging to 13 families.

A team of 40 birdwatchers led by K. Mrutyunjaya Rao, Andhra Pradesh co-ordinator, Indian Bird Conservation Network, has carried out the census on January 11 and 12 in the Godavari estuary.

“Of the 96 species which were recorded through the direct sighting method, 47 species have been found to have arrived at the Coringa and surroundings for the annual sojourn for breeding and earning prey,” Mr. Mrutyunjaya Rao told The Hindu.

Map of sightings

The Department of Forest which has roped in the birdwatchers and experts for the survey is preparing a map of the locations in which the respective species of birds have been sighted. The experts have also recorded wetland-dependent birds, kingfisher species and swallows.

The lone Water Cock and Common Snipe have created a curiosity among the enumerators. “It’s a fascinating sighting of Indian Skimmer (migrates from Chambal in India), Great Knot (Central Siberia) and Sanderling during the census,” remarked birdwatchers D. Mahesh and Kumpatla Balaji.

The highest number of Pacific Golden Plover (1,783) and 163 Indian Skimmer were sighted. As many as 446 Great Knot birds have been recorded in the mudflats of Etimoga near the Coringa sanctuary. In winter, the Great Knot visits the Coringa mangrove cover from Russia and China.

Divisional Forest Officer (Wildlife - Rajamahendravaram) Anant Shankar told The Hindu, “This year, the birdwatchers associated with the census have been asked to bring out a map on the birds sighted during the census. Such documentation is key to preparing a conservation plan.”

Sacramento Island, Chollangi marshy land, Etimoga mudflats and Coringa mangrove cover have been found as the prime habitats of migratory birds. “The Godavari estuary continues to be a safe habitat supporting breeding of numerous migratory birds. However, a stringent conservation plan still needs to be executed,” opined Mr. Mrutyunajaya Rao.

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