Chilika Water Bird Status Survey – 2022

The Odisha Wildlife Organization recently conducted a bird census in the Chilika lake. The organization was joined by Chilika Development Authority and Bombay Natural History Society.

About the survey

Chilika is the largest brackish water lake. Birds come to the lake to spend their winter. Around 106 personnel were deployed in the survey. This included bird experts from non – governmental organizations and government organisations. The lake was divided into 21 segments to conduct the census.

Key findings

  • The 2022 survey witnessed 10,74,173 birds. This included the uncommon and rare Mongolian gull as well. Around 107 water bird species and 76 wetland dependent species were spotted. In 2021, the count was 12 lakhs.
  • The three major bird species in the lake such as Northern pintail, Eurasian wigeon and gadwall accounted to a count of one lakh. The population of gadwall and Eurasian wigeon was less than the previous year.
  • The increase in population was witnessed in common coot, northern pintail and common pochard. The decrease in population was reported in tufted duck, northern shoveler and red crested pochard.
  • In 2022 count, the greater flamingo count reached the highest in the decade. This is mainly due to the restoration of mudflats in Nalabana.
  • The local species such as Indian moorhen, purple heron, and jacanas were found in high numbers.
  • The lake hosts migratory birds from Himalayas, Ladakh, South east Asia, Aral Sea, parts of Russia, Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal. They arrive at the Chilika lake for its muddy waters and abundant fish varieties.

Nalabana Bird Sanctuary

The sanctuary is located inside Chilika lake. Around 3,58,889 birds were spotted in the Nalabana sanctuary. The bird count in the sanctuary has decreased by 65,000 as compared to the previous survey. The decrease in count was due to high water level in the lake and its surrounding. The water birds prefer to flock on muddy waters. The lake waters were clear due to increase in water level.

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