As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Good news for Delhi's bird lovers as black kites thrive in the Capital

PUBLISHED: 23:32, 8 September 2014 | UPDATED: 23:33, 8 September 2014

Known scavengers, black kites consume about 100g of food daily and help dispose of waste

A recent study by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has brought a piece of good news for bird lovers in Delhi.

Among the major cities of the world, the national Capital has the highest density of black kites (Milvus migrans govinda). And for the past five decades, Delhi has been maintaining a stable breeding population of this bird, commonly known as ‘cheel’. 

Despite urbanisation and loss of green cover, Delhi’s black kite population has remained intact. 

According to the report by the Dehradun-based institute, the bird’s ‘nesting density’ in Delhi is 15 pairs per sq km, which is almost the same as the figures for 1970s.

In 1971, Russian scientist Vladimir M. Galushin had conducted a similar study across 150 sq km and assessed the black kite’s ‘nesting density’ at 16.1 pairs per sq km. 

Ghazipur in Delhi remains a hot spot for black kites, with abundance of food in the dumping yard, a large number of slaughter houses, and chicken/fish markets located there. 

To count the number of black kites in that locality, WII researchers developed the method of photograph-based count using software Image J. 

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