Mar 21, 2019, 04:22 IST
Trichy: For city-based field biologist Q Ashoka Chakkravarthy, sighting a solitary Hoopoe bird near Perambalur district was a visual treat. While he has been sighting these birds for the past five years, he said the numbers are dwindling in the region that he could count them only in single digits and he may not find in the coming years.
Found in large numbers about a decade ago, Hoopoe birds have come down to a few. These flying beauties have almost become extinct around the central region mainly because of the fragmentation of forest and habitat loss, Ashoka said. He stressed the need to educate youngsters on the conservation of forests and its importance to sustain bird species as the world is observing International Day of Forests 2019 on Thursday on the theme ‘forest and education,’.
Spotting the bird in T Kalathur village in Perambalur district, which falls close to a reserve forest area, Ashoka said that these birds keep off human habitation. These birds have a long pinkish-brown crest and its head topped by a prominent erectile crest. It primarily uses their long, slender, curved bill to probe for large insects, worms, lizards, and frogs on the ground. Once a very common bird, which was evaluated as the least concern (LC) as per Bird Life International in 2015, an organisation for bird conservation, Hoopoe has witnessed drastic fall in its population.
Now on the verge of extinction in this region, Ashoka says there have been a lot of changes in the physical environment over the recent years. “Use of pesticides in cultivated lands has affected micro-organisms, which are primary the feed of these birds and reduced their life span,” he said. While advocating concrete steps towards habitat conservation, Ashoka said the government should come forward to carry out a detailed study on the bird and look into the reason for its dwindling numbers and take appropriate steps.