The Forest Department of Kerala recently completed the most comprehensive and in depth ornithological survey ever conducted in India. A five-member team including eminent ornithologists recorded 341 species of birds in the Malabar region. The survey has set a new national benchmark for similar wildlife surveys.
The surveyed area covered North Kerala, and the surveyors spent a year to cover the area, including remote woodlands. Six different habitats were surveyed: tropical evergreen, tropical moist deciduous, tropical dry deciduous, Shola grassland, low elevation evergreen grassland and wetland areas.
The most frequently found species was the Yellow-browed Bulbul with 122.4 individuals per square km, followed by the Small Sunbird with a density of 109.7. Other frequent bird species include the White-cheeked Barbet, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Black-headed Babbler and Oriental White-eye.
22 of the 341 recorded species fall into the category of globally threatened species.Of these, 9 are endemic to the Western Ghats. Recorded were not only the number of individuals and density, but also breeding sites and whether they were resident or migrant species.