why do birds migrate to india

As many as 1,349 species of birds have been recorded as of 2019, of which 78 are endemic to the country and 212 species are globally threatened

Migratory birds are seasonal guests with positive impacts. Birds from 29 countries fly to India every year. The country witnesses incoming of large flocks during September-October signifying the beginning of migration.

As many as 1,349 species of birds have been recorded as of 2019, of which 78 are endemic to the country and 212 species are globally threatened, according to the Government of India.

Migratory birds require nesting places and sufficient food for successful broods. Accelerated habitat loss during the last decade, including decreased area under water bodies, wetlands, natural grasslands and forests, have proved to be major impediments for them.

Overexploitation, unsustainable use of natural resource, population explosion along with increased weather variabilities and climate change has resulted in loss of biodiversity.

These factors have also adversely impacted the entire life cycle and survival of migratory birds. New approaches are needed to prevent the ill-effects and altered migration patterns of birds.

Migratory bird species are known to be indicators for the flyway region, as they use different biomes and habitats and face different pressures along the migration route. The Central Asian Flyway covers 30 countries, including India, at the tail end with huge landmass and habitat variations, especially the wetlands.

As daylight shrinks and food supply dwindles at the breeding sites, the birds take the cue and start migrating towards wintering sites in the South. The return journey begins in March or April.

Migration is also an adaptation mechanism to help birds overcome weather adversities and unavailability of food in colder regions. The importance of bird migrations on the health of the ecosystems is well-established.

Birds often migrate to and from specific sites and hence, certain regions become identified with certain species. Pallikaranai in Chennai attracts a large number of flamingoes, ducks and waders.

Pulicat Lake on the Tamil Nadu-Andhra border hosts flamingoes; ducks and waders can be seen in Chilika lagoon in Odisha. Other notable sites to see migratory birds are the Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur in Rajasthan and Khijadia Bird Sanctuary in Jamnagar in Gujarat.

Some birds are passage migrants, like the spotted flycatcher, rufous-tailed scrub robin and European roller. They migrate through a large part of western India and over winter in Africa. Amur Falcons pass through India in December. Many birds arrive from temperate regions; the Siberian Cranes come to India in winter.

Migratory birds play several essential and indispensable roles in the ecosystems they reside in and travel through. Such birds raising broods end up acting as pest control agents by devouring insects and other organisms that harm the environment and crops.

Locust attack is one such disaster that stems from that absence of birds. Migratory birds help in dispersal of seeds, leading to maintenance of biodiversity along their routes.

Ducks can transport fish eggs in their guts to new water bodies. The droppings of birds, also known as guano, are rich in nitrogen and act as organic fertilizers. Egg shells can add calcium and other minerals.

Migratory birds form both prey and predator bases in ecosystems seasonally and can, therefore, have an ecological impact. Prevalence of migratory birds helps analyse the state of environment in an area.

In several parts of the world where they travel through or are resident, their eggs are poached and hunted down. Locals unaware of the benefits provided by migratory birds often indulge in behavior adverse to survival of birds. Affluent people indulge in bird poaching to please their palate without giving any consideration to environmental consequences.

Loss of one mate can result in the death of the other and loss of the brood due to starvation affecting an entire family of birds and future generations.

Along with loss of water bodies and wild habitats, the dwindling of minor habitats in the vicinities of towns and villages, where smaller flocks often take refuge, is a major concern.

Increasing illumination at night adversely affects migration by confusing the birds. Degradation of the environment and increased pollutant levels jeopardise the life cycle and migration of birds. Heavy pollution of water bodies and presence of large amounts of pesticides leads to improper hatching and the loss of broods.

Birds can suffer from the effects of continuously feeding on fish and insects that have elevated levels of heavy metals and toxins. Due to increasing encroachment and human interferences, increased fishing the availability of food becomes a challenge and birds can die of starvation.

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Why do birds migrate?

Birds migrate when they move from low-resource or diminishing areas to high-resource or expanding areas. Food and places to build nests are the two main resources that are being sought after. Here’s more about how migration evolved.

When springtime arrives in the Northern Hemisphere, nesting birds migrate northward to take advantage of budding plants, increasing insect populations, and an abundance of nesting sites. The birds migrate south once more as winter draws near and there are fewer insects and other food sources. Although escaping the cold is a driving force, many species—including hummingbirds—can tolerate below-freezing temperatures provided there is a sufficient supply of food.

The large-scale, periodic movements of animal populations are referred to as migration. Migration can be viewed by taking the distances traveled into account.

  • Permanent residents do not migrate. They are able to find adequate supplies of food year-round.
  • When migrating short distances, such as from one mountainside’s higher to lower elevation, they move relatively little.
  • Medium-distance migrants cover distances that span a few hundred miles.
  • Typically, long-distance migrants travel to wintering grounds in Central and South America from their breeding ranges in the United States and Canada. Approximately 350 species of birds in North America are migratory over great distances, despite the difficult travels involved.

Within each category, the pattern of migration can differ, but it varies most among short- and medium-distance migrants.

What is a migrant trap?

why do birds migrate to india

Certain locations appear to possess a talent for drawing migrant birds in greater quantities than usual. These “migrant traps” often become well known as birding hotspots. Usually, the local topography, an abundance of food, or the weather are to blame for this.

For instance, tiny songbirds that are migrating north in the spring cross the Gulf of Mexico straight and land on the states that border it. When headwinds are brought on by storms or cold fronts, these birds may be almost exhausted by the time they reach land. When this occurs, they flee to the closest area that provides food and shelter, which is usually live oak groves on barrier islands, where a large number of migrants can congregate in what is referred to as a “fallout.” Birdwatchers have taken a great interest in these migration traps, and they have even gained international recognition.

Additionally, as migratory birds follow the land and then pause before launching over water, peninsulas can concentrate them. This explains why areas with a strong reputation as migration hotspots include Point Pelee, Ontario; the Florida Keys; Point Reyes, California; and Cape May, New Jersey.

For those who feed birds in their backyard, spring migration is a particularly good time to attract species they would not typically see. Migrating songbirds may find a backyard appealing if it provides water, a range of food sources, and natural food sources integrated into the landscaping.

Range maps This animated map shows where Common Yellowthroats occur each week of the year. The colors indicate the numbers of birds: darker or more purple colors indicate higher numbers of birds, lighter, yellow colors indicate fewer birds. Map from

Using the range maps in your field guide to ascertain whether and when a specific species might be present is always a good idea. Range maps are especially useful when working with migratory species. They can be confusing, though, as bird ranges can change from year to year, especially for invasive species like redpolls. Furthermore, some species’ ranges can change fairly quickly, sometimes even within the time it takes for a field guide to be republished. (The Eurasian Collared-Dove is the best example of this problem. ).

Digital range map versions that are driven by data are starting to address these limitations. The hundreds of millions of eBird observations that birdwatchers from all over the world have submitted have made the maps possible. Scientists can now create animated maps that depict a species’ ebb and flow across a continent over the course of a year thanks to “Big Data” analyses, which also help them understand more general patterns of movement.

Migration is a fascinating study and there is much yet to learn. Songbird Journeys, by the Cornell Lab’s Miyoko Chu, explores many aspects of migration in an interesting and easy-to-read style. The Cornell Lab’s Handbook of Bird Biology provides even more information on the amazing phenomenon of bird migration.

why do birds migrate to india


Why did lots of birds migrate to India during the winter season?

Birds from Siberia such as the Siberian cranes come to India during winter months as they are cold-blooded animals and cannot survive in the extreme winters of their country. Food production and availability also reduces during winters making these the prime reasons for their migration to India.

Which bird migrate to India every year?

Some birds such as Pintail Ducks, Curlews, Flamingos, Ospreys and Little Stints migrate to our country in the winter season every year. Kingfishers and Comb Ducks migrate to India in the summer season and the rainy season respectively.

What is the path of migration of birds in India?

From the northern and northwestern parts of the world along the western coastal line of India, then towards the extreme south of India, which is common point the birds fly across this coast and arrive in Sri Lanaka mostly across this coastal line between Mannar and Kaluthara.

What are migratory birds mostly found in India?

India is a winter home for most of the Siberian birds such as Siberian Cranes,Greater Flamingo and Demoiselle Crane. Species such as white ibis, several species of egrets and herons, fly to Delhi from warmer climes.