Year of compilation: 2004
AVIFAUNA: About 180 species of birds have been reported from the Sanctuary (Rahmani and Daniel, 1997, Ahmad and Javed 2000). Of the 42 species of Family Anatidae from the Indian subcontinent (Ali and Ripley 1987), 18 species have been reported from the Sanctuary. Among these, Comb Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos, Cotton Teal or Cotton Pygmy-Goose Nettapus coromandelianus, Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica and Spot-billed Duck Anas poecilorhyncha are the resident species. During the peak of winter in December and January, 60-70,000 waterfowl are found in the Patna wetland. Rosy Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus, Lesser Flamingo Phoenicopterus minor, Greater Flamingo P. roseus, White or Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus, Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus, Curlew Numenius arquata, Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia, Osprey Pandion haliaetus, Mallard Anas platyrhynchos, Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus and Darter Anhinga melanogaster are some of the main attractions of this IBA. Anatidae is the most abundant among all the families recorded. Northern Pintail Anas acuta is most numerous, with about 52,000 individuals during the peak time in one monitoring (Ahmad and Javed 2000). This was followed by Common Pochard Aythya ferina 12,000; Gadwal Anas strepera 5,500; Northern Shoveller A. clypeata 4,200; and Garganey A. querquedula 1,700. Most of these figures are above 1% biogeographical population threshold of these species (Wetlands International, 2002). Among the Phalacrocoracidae, Little Cormorant Phalacrocorax niger is abundant, with about 500 individuals, followed by Large Cormorant P. carbo, and Darter. Coot Fulica atra is also abundant, with about 6,300 birds at one census (Ahmad and Javed 2000). During summer, when most of the smaller wetlands become completely dry, a large number of Sarus cranes Grus antigone, sometimes numbering between 200 to 300, congregate in Patna jheel, where some water is left in deeper parts, which serve as an important refuge for this species during the hot, dry summer. Richness and diversity of waterbirds are highest at the end of April. This is because, migratory birds converge at Patna WLS from other areas before the spring migration. It appears that Patna WLS is not only an important refuge but also a stopover site for winter migrants returning to their breeding quarters from peninsular and central India. Waders and other marsh species are far more abundant at the end of April. This is probably due to the development of more shallow areas as the water recedes during the late winter (Ahmed and Javed 2000).
OTHER KEY FAUNA: Since the establishment of Patna Bird Sanctuary, and posting of forest officials, all the wildlife of the area has benefited from protection. Sighting of Golden Jackal Canis aureus and Nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus is now quite common. Monitor Lizard Varanus bengalensis has also benefited and good numbers are seen on the terrestrial part of the Sanctuary.
One of the greatest threats was plantation of exotic trees “for beautification and to provide food to birds”. This threat has been reduced due to timely intervention (Rahmani and Daniel 1997). Patna WLS is considered a sacred place due to the presence of a temple, so villagers do not allow hunting, resulting in unusual tameness of birds. Since the establishment of the Sanctuary, and some restriction on the activities of villagers, such as grass cutting and cultivation of Water Chestnut, the villagers have become somewhat indifferent to the Sanctuary. However, this could be minimized if the benefit of wildlife tourism goes directly to the villagers. This IBA is only 80 km from Agra, a major tourist centre of India, and would attract thousands of tourists every year. Local youths could be trained to act as guides, much like in Keoladeo National Park (an IBA) at Bharatpur, Rajasthan.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Patna Bird Sanctuary. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/05/2022.