Species Diversity and Functional Assemblages of Bird Fauna along the Riverine Habitats of Tiruchirappalli, India

  • Manjula MenonEmail author
  • M. Prashanthi Devi
  • V. Nandagopalan
  • R. Mohanraj
Part of the Springer Earth System Sciences book series (SPRINGEREARTH)


Riverine ecosystems have complex relationship with human since time immemorial and play an integral role in the socio-economy of a region. However, many riverine habitats, particularly within urban centers in the developing countries are subjected to overexploitation that affects the natural ecological processes and functions of rivers. Such perturbations in riverine habitats are often linked to biodiversity loss. Birds discharge crucial ecosystem services and are closely associated to wetlands and rivers for their survival. This study attempts to document the bird diversity and their community assemblages along the riverine habitats in relation to urban effects, vegetative attributes, seasonal parameters and other anthropogenic pressures. The study finds that bird diversity and species richness were higher in the rural landscape and gradually decreased towards the urban region. A total of 120 bird species consisting of two ‘Near Threatened’ were recorded along the riverine habitats of the River Cauvery. Few species (Egretta garzetta and Phalacrocorax niger), were found to be densely populated and adapted to the urban environment while few others declined. Salient features of the results include: seasonality did not affect the variability of the riverine species and the difference in composition of birds during the wet and dry seasons were insignificant. While the factors namely, tree cover, tree height, and number of trees were found to be positively correlated, the anthropogenic factors namely, extent of built up land, noise levels and vehicular traffic contributed negatively towards bird diversity. Among the various riverine stretches/study sites, the Kallanni region recorded highest species richness and diversity. The most important conservation measure would be to declare Kallanai an important bird reserve and the agricultural farmlands on either sides of river Cauvery at Kallanai be declared as ‘High Nature Value’ (HNV) wetlands/farmlands to protect the overall biodiversity.


Urbanization Riverine Diversity Abundance Species richness Corridors 



The authors thank the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, for providing financial assistance under the DST Women Scientists Scheme (WOS-A).


  1. Aurora AL, Simpson TR, Small MF, Berder KC (2009) Toward increasing avian diversity: urban wildscapes programs. Urban Ecosyst 12:347–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aynalem S, Bekele A (2008) Species composition, relative abundance and distribution of bird fauna of riverine and wetland habitats of Infranz and Yiganda at southern tip of Lake Tana Ethiopia. Trop Ecol 49(2):199–209Google Scholar
  3. Azous AL, Horner RM (2000) Wetlands and urbanization: implications for the future. Lewis Publishers, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  4. Balachandran S (2012) Avian diversity in coastal wetlands of India and their conservation needs.
  5. Balapure S, Dutta S, Vyas V (2012) Avifauna diversity in Barns wetland of Narmada basin in Central India. J Res Biol 2(5):460–468Google Scholar
  6. Blair RB (1996) Land use and avian species diversity along an urban gradient. Ecol Appl 6:506–519CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brotons L, Herrando S, Martin JL (2004) Bird assemblages in forest fragments within Mediterranean mosaics created by wild fires. Landscape Ecol 19:663–675CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brouwer JW, Mullie C, Scholte P (2003) White storks Ciconia ciconia wintering in Chad, northern Cameroon and Niger: a comment on P. Berthold, W. Van Den Bossche, W. Fiedler, M. Kaatz, Y. Leshem, E. Nowak & U. Querner. 200. Ibis 145:499–501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brumm H, Slabbekoorn H (2005) Acoustic communication in noise. Adv Study Behav 35:151–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bunn SE, Boon PI (1993) What sources of organic carbon drive food webs in billabongs? A study based on stable isotope analysis. Oecologia 96:85–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bunn SE, Davies PM (1999) Aquatic food webs in turbid, arid-zone rivers: preliminary data from Cooper Creek, western Queensland. In: Kingsford RT (ed) A free-flowing river: the ecology of the Paroo river. New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service, Sydney, pp 67–76Google Scholar
  12. Butler RW (1992) Great blue heron. The birds of North America: life histories for the 21st century, No. 25. American Ornithologists Union, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  13. Carignan V, Villard MA (2002) Selecting indicator species to monitor ecological integrity: a review. Environ Monit Assess 78(1):45–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Caula SA, Marty P, Martin JL (2008) Seasonal variation in species composition of an urban bird community in Mediterranean France. Landscape Urban Plan 87:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Caula SA, Sirami C, Marty P, Martin JL (2010) Value of an urban habitat for the native Mediterranean avifauna. Urban Ecosyst 13:73–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Chace JF, Walsh JJ (2006) Urban effects on native avifauna: a review. Landscape Urban Plan 74:46–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Daily GC (2001) Ecological forecasts. Nature 411:245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. DeLuca WV, Studds CE, Rockwood LL, Marra PP (2004) Influence of land use on the integrity of marsh bird communities of Chesapeake bay, USA. Wetlands 24:837–847CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Doxa A, Bas Y, Paracchini ML, Pointereau P, Terres JM, Jiguet F (2010) Low-intensity agriculture increases farmland bird abundances in France. J Appl Ecol 47(6):1348–1356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Edelson NA (1990) Foraging ecology of wading birds using an altered landscape in central Florida. Master’s thesis, University of Florida, GainesvilleGoogle Scholar
  21. Evans KL, Newson SE, Gaston KJ (2009) Habitat influences on urban avian assemblages. Ibis 151:19–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fernandez-Juricic E, Telleria JL (2000) Effects of human disturbance on blackbird (Turdus merula) spatial and temporal feeding patterns in urban parks of Madrid (Spain). Bird Study 47:13–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gajera NB, Mahato AKR, Vijaykumar V (2012) Wetland birds of arid region-a study on their diversity and distribution pattern in Kachchh. Columban J Life Sci 13(1 and 2):47–51Google Scholar
  24. Girling CL, Helphand KI (1997) Retrofitting suburbia: open space in Bellevue, Washington, USA. Landscape Urban Plan 26:301–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gosselin H, Johnson B (1995) The urban outback—wetlands for wildlife: a guide to wetland restoration and frog-friendly backyards. Metro Toronto’s Adopt-a-Pond Wetland Conservation Programme, Metro Toronto Zoo, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  26. Green RE, Hirons GJM (1991) The relevance of population studies to the conservation of threatened birds. In: Perrings CM, Lebreton JD, Hirons GJM (eds) Bird population studies. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 594–621Google Scholar
  27. Grimmett R, Inskipp T (2005) Birds of Southern India. D and N publishing, Lowesden Business Park, Hungerford, BerkshireGoogle Scholar
  28. Hoyer MV, Canfield DE (1990) Limnological factors influencing bird abundance and species richness on Florida lakes. Lake Reservoir Manage 6(2):133–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hoyer MV, Canfield DE (1994) Bird abundance and species richness on Florida lakes: influence of trophic status, lake morphology, and aquatic macrophytes. Hydrobiologia 297(280):107–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jobin B, Belanger L, Boutin C, Maisonneuve C (2004) Conservation value of agricultural riparian strips in the Boyer River watershed, Québec (Canada). Agric Ecosyst Environ 103:413–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kent A, Coker P (1992) Vegetation description and analysis. A practical approach. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  32. Kingsford (2000) Ecological impacts of dams, water diversions and river management on floodplain wetlands in Australia. Aust Ecol 25:109–127Google Scholar
  33. Kreyer D, Zerbe S (2006) Short-lived tree species and their role as indicators for plant diversity in the restoration of natural forests. Restor Ecol 14:137–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Krueper D, Bart J, Rich TD (2003) Response of vegetation and breeding birds to the removal of cattle on the San Pedro River, Arizona (USA). Conserv Biol 17(2):607–615CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Masero JA (2003) Assessing alternative anthropogenic habitats for conserving waterbirds: salinas as buffer areas against the impact of natural habitat loss for shorebirds. Biodivers Conserv 12:1157–1173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mazeika SMP, Watzin MC, Keeton WS (2007) A riverscape perspective on habitat associations among riverine bird assemblages in the Lake Champlain Basin, USA. Landscape Ecol 22:1169–1186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. McKinney RA, Raposab KB, Cournoyerc RM (2011) Wetlands as habitat in urbanizing landscapes: patterns of bird abundance and occupancy. Landscape Urban Plan 100:144–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Munyenyembe F, Harris J, Hone J (1989) Determinants of bird populations in an urban area. Aust J Ecol 14:549–557CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Murgui E (2009) Influence of urban landscape structure on bird fauna: a case study across seasons in the city of Valencia (Spain). Urban Ecosyst 12:249–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Nilsson C, Berggren K (2000) Alterations of riparian ecosystems caused by river regulation. Bioscience 50(9):783–792CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Pavlik J, Pavlik S (2000) Some relationships between human impact, vegetation, and birds in urban environment. Ekologia-Bratislava 19:392–408Google Scholar
  42. Pearce CM, Green MB, Baldwin MR (2007) Developing habitat models for water birds in urban wetlands: a log-linear approach. Urban Ecosyst 10:239–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Petit DR, Petit LJ, Saab VA, Martin TE (1995) Fixed-radius point counts in forests: factors influencing effectiveness. In: Ralph CJ, Sauer JR, Droege S (eds.) Monitoring bird populations by point counts. CA: USDA forest service general technical report PSW-GTR-149, Albany pp 49–56Google Scholar
  44. Power ME, Sun A, Parker G, Dietrich WE, Wootton JT (1995) Hydraulic food chain models. Bioscience 45:159–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Savard JPL, Clergeau P, Mennechez G (2000) Biodiversity concepts and urban ecosystems. Landscape Urban Plan 48:131–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Scheffers BR, Harris JB, Haskell DG (2006) Avifauna associated with ephemeral ponds on the Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee. J Field Ornithol 77:178–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Smith JP, Richardson JR, Collopy MW (1995) Foraging habitat selection among wading birds (Ciconiiformes) at Lake Okeechobee, Florida, in relation to hydrology and vegetative cover. In: Aumen NG, Wetzel RG (eds) Ecological studies of lake Okeechobee, Florida. Arch Hydrobiol (Special Issues), Advanc Limnol 45:247–285Google Scholar
  48. Sogge MK, Sferra SJ, Paxton EH (2008) Tamarix as habitat for birds: implications for riparian restoration in the southwestern United States. Restor Ecol 16(1):146–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Suarez-Rubio M, Thomlinson JR (2009) Landscape and patch-level factors influence bird communities in an urbanized tropical island. Biol Conserv 142:1311–1321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sullivan SMP, Watzin MC, Keeton WS (2007) A riverscape perspective on habitat associations among riverine bird assemblages in the Lake Champlain Basin, USA. Landscape Ecol 22:1169–1186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Sutherland W (2004) Diet and foraging behaviour. In: Sutherland W, Newton I, Green R (eds) Bird ecology and conservation: a handbook of techniques, Oxford University Press, pp 233–250Google Scholar
  52. Swaddle JP, Page LC (2007) High levels of environmental noise erode pair preferences in zebra finches: Implications for noise pollution. Anim Behav 74:363–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Tilman D, Wedin D, Knops J (1996) Productivity and sustainability influenced by biodiversity in grassland ecosystems. Nature 379:718–720CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Titton DL (1995) Integrating wetlands into planned landscapes. Landscape Urban Plan 32:205–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Tracy CR, Averill-Murray R, Boarman WI, Delehanty D, Heaton J, McCoy E, Morafka D, Nussear K, Hagerty B, Medica P (2004) Desert tortoise recovery plan assessment. Report to United States Fish and Wildlife Service. University of Nevada, RenoGoogle Scholar
  56. Traut AH, Hostetler ME (2004) Urban lakes and waterbirds: effects of shoreline development on avian distribution. Landscape Urban Plan 69:69–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Weller MW (1999) Wetland birds: habitat resources and conservation implications. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Whited D, Galatowitsch S, Tester JR, Schik K, Lehtinen R, Husveth J (2000) The importance of local and regional factors in predicting effective conservation, planning strategies for wetland bird communities in agricultural and urban landscapes. Landscape Urban Plan 49:49–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Yard HK, Riper CV, Brown B (2004) Kearsley MJ (2004) Diets of insectivorous birds along the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. Ariz Condor 106(1):106–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manjula Menon
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. Prashanthi Devi
    • 1
  • V. Nandagopalan
    • 2
  • R. Mohanraj
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Management, School of Environmental SciencesBharathidasan UniversityTiruchirappalliIndia
  2. 2.National CollegeTiruchirappalliIndia

Personalised recommendations