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Short Communication - Distribution and Habitat Use of Avian Fauna of Rawalakot City and its Surroundings, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan.

Byline: Saba Khalid, Muhammad Saddique Awan, Riaz Aziz Minhas, Nasra Ashraf, Khawaja Basharat Ahmed, Nuzhat Shafi and Sajid Abassi

ABSTRACT

Distribution and habitat use of avian fauna of Rawalakot city and its surrounding was studied from March 2006 to February 2007. The study area is situated in the center of district Poonch. For the convenience of data collection the study area was divided into six study sites; systematic surveys were conducted at each site. Direct sighting and indirect evidences were collected from all these sites. Seventy eight bird species were recorded that belonged to 34 families and 11 orders. Passeriformes was the dominant specie. The habitat destruction due to deforestation, agricultural activities, infrastructure and land sliding and disturbances by the increasing human population were major threats to the avian fauna of Rawalakot.

Key words

Avian fauna, Distribution, Habitat use, Habitat preference.

Azad Jammu and Kashmir is located at the junction of Palaearctic and Oriental region having rich mixed fauna and avian diversity of two geographical regions (Roberts, 1991) as well as the migratory birds of Central and Northern Europe who take the route of Afghanistan, Karakorum range, across river Indus in Pakistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and finally towards India (Ali and Ripley, 1987) to avoid adverse climatic conditions or in search of food but the local people are unaware of the avian role in ecosystems, leads to habitat destruction and hunting of bird species in the area. It is therefore required to document the avian diversity and address the factors that lead to habitat destruction and population decline of bird species in the area. In order to address these issues, the distribution, population status, and habitat preference of avian fauna in Rawalakot city was studied.

Materials and methods

The study was conducted at Rawalakot (32Adeg 45' N to 35Adeg 07' N and 73Adeg 24' E to 74Adeg 56' E), district Poonch, AJandK (Anonymous, 2002). Topographically Rawalakot is mountainous area at an altitude of 5374 feet, having subtropical climate with pleasant summer and cold winter. The area receives precipitation in the form of rainfall and snow. Mild snowfall occurs almost in all areas of Rawalakot. The area possesses a rich flora, having dominant vegetation species of Olea ferruginea, Ailanthus, Rosa indica and Euphorbia helioscopia. Such diverse habitat provides abode for a variety of bird species.

Bird population surveys (45) were conducted from March 2006 to February 2007. Study area was divided randomly into six localities having the same habitat to cover the maximum area for sampling. During the surveys, direct and indirect methods were used to gather information about the presence of avian fauna. Surveys were usually scheduled in the morning and evening time. Most of the day hours were used to gather indirect evidences. The bird fauna was observed by using Binocular (12X 50X) and identified with the help of available keys (Ali and Ripley, 1983; Roberts, 1991). GPS readings were taken in terms of coordinates and elevation at the points where any evidence was found. Habitat analysis was carried out to assess the flora by using quadrate method (Schemnitz, 1980). Dominance of plant species was calculated on the basis of important value index.

Results and discussion

Seventy eight bird species belonging to 34 families were identified (Table I) in forty five surveys. Among these species common myna, common swift, black bulbul, house crow, jungle crow were common. While, kalij pheasant, tree pipit, wagtail, kingfisher, spotted owlet, spotted dove and Indian roller were scarce in numbers. Collared dove was frequently observed during survey. Himalayan tree creeper and red vented bulbul were residential birds of Rawalakot and were observed during all seasons. Observed birds were unevenly distributed in each locality. Mostly, avain abundance was observed in uninhabited areas.

The percentage of relative abundance of all the species shows that Passeriformes (83.73%) is the dominant order in the study area followed by Columbiformes (3.40%), Cuculiformes (2.1%), Apodiformes (1.79%), Psittaciformes (1.7%), Coraciiformes (1.32%), Piciformes (0.76%), Upupiformes (0.31%), Ciconiiformes (0.24%) Strigiformes (0.12%) and Galliformes (0.10%). Among plant species Olea ferruginea was dominant in study area followed by Ailanthus altissima, Cannabis sativa, Dalbergia sissoo and Acacia nilotica (Supplementary Fig. 1).

Table I.- Bird species recorded in Rawalakot city and its surroundings.

S###Scientific name###Common name###Category###IUCN red list###Protection###Localstatus

No.###residential###(CR, EN, VU,###status in###(R, C, F)*

###status###NT)*###Pakistan

Order Galliformes

Family Phasianidae

1###Lophuraleucomelanos###Kalij pheasant###Resident###LC###R

Oredr Piciformes

Family Picidae

2###Dendrocoposhimalayensis###Himalayan woodpecker###Resident###LC###C

Order Upupiformes

Family Upupidae

3###Upupaepops###Common hoopoe###Resident###LC###C

Order Coraciiformes

Family Coraciidae

4###Coraciasbenghalensis###Indian roller###Resident###LC###R

Family Alcedinidae

5###Alcedoatthis###Common king fisher###Resident###LC###R

6###Halcyon smyrnensis###White breasted Kingfisher###Resident###LC###R

Family Cerylidae

7###Cerylerudis###Pied kingfisher###Resident###LC###R

Order Cuculiformes

Family Cuculidae

8###Cuculusvarius###Common Hawk cuckoo###Resident###LC###R

9###Clamatorjacobinus###Pied cuckoo###Resident###LC###R

10###Eudynamysscolopaceus###Asian Koel###Resident###LC###C

Order Psittaciformes

Family Psittaculidae

11###Psittaculaeupatria###Alexandrine parakeet###Resident###LC###C

12###Psittaculakrameri###Rose ringed parakeet###Resident###LC###C

Order Apodiformes

Family Apodidae

13###Apusapus###Common swift###Resident###LC###C

14###Apusaffinis###House swift###Resident###LC###C

Order Strigiformes

Family Strigidae

15###Bubo bubo###Eurasion eagle owl###Resident###LC###C

16###Athenebrama###Spotted owlet###Resident###LC###C

Order Columbiformes

Family Columbidae

17###Columba livia###Rock pigeon###Resident###LC###C

18###Columba leuconota###Snow pigeon###Resident###LC###C

19###Columba palumbus###Common wood pigeon###Resident###LC###C

20###Streptopeliadecaocto###Collard dove###Resident###LC###C

21###Streptopeliaorientalis###Oriental turtle dove###Resident###LC###C

22###Streptopeliachinensis###Spotted dove###Resident###LC###C

Table I.- Bird species recorded in Rawalakot city and its surroundings. (Continued)

S###Scientific name###Common name###Category###IUCN red list###Protection###Localstatus

No.###residential###(CR, EN, VU,###status in###(R, C, F)*

###status###NT)*###Pakistan

Order Falconiformes

Family Falconidae

23###Falco tinnunculus###Common kestrel###Resident###LC###R

Order Passeriformes

Family Laniidae

24###Laniusschach###Rufous-tailed shrike###Resident###LC###C

25###Laniusexcubitor###Great grey shrike###Resident###LC###C

26###Laniusvittatus###Bay backed shrike###Resident###LC###C

Family Corvidae

27###Urocissaflavirostris###Yellow billed blue magpie###Resident###LC###C

28###Dendrocittavagabunda###Rufoustreepie###Resident###LC###C

29###Corvussplendens###House crow###Resident###LC###C

30###Corvusmacrorhynchos###Jungle crow###Resident###LC###C

Family Dicruridae

31###Dicrurusmacrocercus###Black drango###Resident###LC###C

Family Rhipiduridae

32 Rhipiduraalbicollis###White throated fantail###Resident###LC###C

Family Strunidea

33###Acridotherestristis###Common myna###Resident###LC###C

34###Acridotheresginginianus###Bank myna###Resident###LC###C

Family Passeridae

35###Passer domesticus###House sparrow###Resident###LC###C

36###Passer hispaniolensis###Spanish sparrow###Resident###LC###C

37###Passer rutilans###Russet sparrow###Resident###LC###C

Family Estrildidae

38###Amandavaamandava###Red avadavat###Resident###LC###C

39###Lonchurapunctulata###Spotted munia###Resident###LC###C

Family Fringillidae

40###Carduelisspinoides###Himalayan green finch###Resident###LC###C

41###Carduelisflavirostris###Twite###Resident###LC###C

42###Carpodacuserythrinus###Common rose finch###Resident###LC###C

Family Emberizidae

43###Emberizaleucocephalos###Pine bunting###Resident###LC###C

44###Emberizastewarti###White-capped bunting###Resident###LC###C

45###Emberizacia###Rock bunting###Resident###LC###C

46###Emberizapusilla###Little bunting###Resident###LC###C

Family Hirundinidae

47###Hirundorustica###Common swallow###Resident###LC###C

48###Hirundodaurica###Red ramped swallow###Resident###LC###C

Family Motacillidae

49###Motacilla alba###White wagtail###Resident###LC###C

50###Motacillamaderaspatensis###Large pied wagtail###Resident###LC###C

51###Motocillacitreola###Yellow headed-wagtail###Resident###LC###C

52###Motacillaflava###Yellow wagtail###Resident###LC###C

53###Anthustrivialis###Tree pipit###Resident###LC###C

Family Campephagidae

54###Pericrocotusflammeus###Scarlet minivet###Resident###LC###C

55###Pycnonotusleucogenys###Himalayan bulbul###Resident###LC###C

56###Pycnonotuscafer###Red vented bulbul###Resident###LC###C

57###Hypsipetesleucocephalus###Black bulbul###Resident###LC###C

Family Irenidae

58###Chloropsisaurifrons###Golden fronted leaf bird###Resident###LC###C

Family Turdidae

59###Enicurusleschenaulti###Leschenaults forktail###Resident###VU###C

Table I.- Bird species recorded in Rawalakot city and its surroundings. (Continued)

S###Scientific name###Common name###Category###IUCN red list###Protection###Localstatus

No.###residential###(CR, EN, VU,###status in###(R, C, F)*

###status###NT)*###Pakistan

60###Enicurusscouleri###Little forktail###Resident###LC###C

61###Saxicolatorquata###Common stone chat###Resident###LC###C

62###Saxicolaferrea###Dark grey bush chat###Resident###LC###C

63###Saxicolacaprata###Pied bush chat###Resident###LC###C

Family Sittidae

64###Sittacastanea###Chestnut-bellied Nutchatch###Resident###LC###C

Family Paridae

65###Parus major###Great Tit###Resident###LC###C

Family Certhiidae

66###Certhiahimalayana###Himalayan tree creeper###Resident###LC###C

Family Zosteropidea

67###Zosteropspalpebrosus###Oriental white-eye###Resident###LC###C

Family Oriolidae

68###Oriolusoriolus###Golden Oriole###Resident###LC###C

Family Phylloscopidae

69###Phylloscopusaffinis###Tickell's leaf warbler###Resident###LC###C

70###Phylloscopusxanthoschistos###Grey hooded warbler###Resident###LC###C

Family Cisticolidae

71###Priniacrinigera###striated prinia###Resident###LC###C

Family Muscicapidae

72###Cyornistickelliae###Salty-blue flycatcher###Resident###LC###C

73###Saxicolaleucurus###Stone chat###Resident###LC###C

74###Saxicoloidesfulicatus###Indian robin###Resident###LC###C

75###Ficedulasuperciliaris###Ultramarine flycatcher###Resident###LC###C

76###Eumyiasthalassinus###Verditer fly catcher###Resident###LC###C

77###Muscicapasibirica###Sooty fly catcher###Resident###LC###C

Family Monarchidae

78###Terpsiphone paradise###Indian paradise flycatcher###Resident###LC###C

Availability of abundant food resources and diverse habitat of Rawalakot city like open area, grass land, forest and cultivated (maize and wheat) area prop up species richness (Ashkenazi and Dimentman, 1998). Similarly, integration of species habitat contributes to a better understanding of species resource requirements for suitable management program on year-round basis (Hoffman et al., 1996).

Rawalakot provide large mosaic habitats for avian fauna and provides nesting, breeding, foraging, and roosting sites. Any disturbance (grass cutting, wood collection and insecticidal spray) in and around the roost sites especially, during the breeding seasons should be restricted.

Supplementary material

There is supplementary material associated with this article. Access the material online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.17582/journal.pjz/2017.49.6.sc4

Statement of conflict of interest

Authors have declared no conflict of interest.

References

Ali, S. and Ripley, S.D., 1987. Birds of India and Pakistan, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, pp. 223-669.

Ali, S. and Ripley, S.D., 1983. Handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan. Oxford University Press, Delhi.

Anonymous, 2002. Azad Kashmir at a glance. Statistics section, Planning and Development, Azad Govt. of State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Ashkenazi, S. and Dimentman, C., 1998. Wetlands Ecol. Manage., 6: 169-187. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1008488607329

Hoffman, L., Hafner, H. and Salathe, T., 1996. Colonial Water Birds, 19: 12-30. https://doi.org/10.2307/1521942

Mckinney, M.L., 2002. Bioscience, 52: 883-890. https://doi.org/10.1641/0006-3568(2002)052[0883:UBAC]2.0.CO;2

Roberts, T.J., 1991. The birds of Pakistan. Non Passeriformes. Oxford University Press, Karachi, pp. 558.

Schmnitz, S.D., 1980. Wildlife management techniques manual, 4th edition, revised. The Wildlife Society Inc., Washington, pp. 113-126.
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Article Details
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Author:Khalid, Saba; Awan, Muhammad Saddique; Minhas, Riaz Aziz; Ashraf, Nasra; Ahmed, Khawja Basharat; Sha
Publication:Pakistan Journal of Zoology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Dec 31, 2017
Words:2122
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