An avifaunal case study of a plateau from Goa, India: an eye opener for conservation of plateau ecosystems

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Minal Desai
A.B Shanbhag


The lateritic plateaux typical of the midlands between the Western Ghats and the coastal plains of the Arabian Sea are known to be a unique ecosystem with a sizeable endemic flora. However, there is a total lack of studies on the faunal diversity of these plateaux, which are currently experiencing enormous anthropogenic pressures. We conducted a year-long study on the avifauna of the Taleigao Plateau, Goa. The Taleigao Plateau harbours 114 species of birds, accounting for 37% of the avifaunal diversity of the state. The resident bird population did not vary significantly through the seasons. Among the migrant birds, Rosy Starling Sturnus roseus was particularly partial to the plateau. Besides, five species of larks, grassland specialists were also recorded on the plateau. However, the absence of forest birds like the Malabar Pied Hornbill and the Indian Grey Hornbill (recorded earlier) and the predominance of habitat generalists like the House Crow and the Jungle Myna seemed to be the offshoot of heavy anthropogenic pressures on the plateau. It is recommended that at least some plateaux in the belt deserve to be protected from the impact of unsustainable developmental process

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Author Biographies

Minal Desai

Dr. Minal Desai, as a CSIR senior research fellow worked on avian ecology in varied forest ecosystems in the Western Ghat locales adjoining Goa region. Her PhD thesis centered around bird diversity in selected unmanaged monoculture plantations vis-à-vis primary forest in the Western Ghat stretch in northern Goa.

A.B Shanbhag

Prof. A.B. Shanbhag, a professor of zoology at Goa University is involved in teaching and research over three decades. As a practicing field biologist he has been actively engaged in bird ecology and research on wetlands, forests and agroforests.