Keywords:urban settlements, migratory bird species, India, avian species, urban guidelines, design guidelines, avifauna habitats
On a broad level, India can be divided into six types of climate (Padmanabhamurthy, 1990) This in conjunction with the country being situated in three of the major global flyways, makes conservation of avian species highly essential. The different climates lead to rich diverse biomes where the migratory birds stop, nest, breed and progess on to their destinations. The grasslands and wetlands throughout the country make effective pitstops for landbirds and water birds alike. With massive urbanisation taking over, these ecological spaces are constantly encroached, leading to a decline in the native and migratory avian species. While there are different initiatives taken by the Indian Government such as the National Action Plan and the Perspective Plan on bird conservation, these are tentative guidelines with no legal binding on urban development. In reality, the National urban planning code (Urban and Regional Development Planning Framework of India) and the urban bye laws are devoid of biodiversity clauses. Optional frameworks such as the Indian Green Building Council guidelines mention incentivisation for preserving nocturnal habitats and native vegetation. The absence of such guidelines in the Urban development norms make native vegetation an easy prey to development and loss of habitat for birds.
India falls within three of the nine global flyways- Central Asian Flyway (CAF), East Asian Australasian Flyway (EAAF) and Asian East African Flyway (AEAF). (Pardikar, 2020) Out of approximately 1230 species of avifauna in India, the CAF is a stopover for approximately 370 species of migratory birds on the way to their destination, which is a combination of both landbirds using terrestrial environments such as bar-tailed godwicks and waterbirds dependant on wetlands, such as northern shovelers. (Forests, 2005) Through the flyways, the birds find the necessary nutrition and settlement in warmer countries like India until further movement towards the equator.