According to the IUCN Red List, in 2021, India has a total of 186 threatened species of birds. Many of these species are endemic or semi-endemic to the Indian subcontinent. The book Threatened Birds of Madhya Pradesh contains accounts of 47 such threatened avians that are found in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

Of the 47 threatened bird species found in Madhya Pradesh, five are listed as Critically Endangered, and another seven are marked Endangered. Ten more species fall under Vulnerable and the rest under Near Threatened. Alongside field characteristics and other ecological details of these birds, valuable insights concerning their past and present distribution in the state, threats, current conservation measures and recommendations for their further conservation are provided in the book.

     Sarus Crane Ritesh Khabia | Nature Infocus
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Sarus Crane (Antigone antigone), the tallest flying bird in the world. Photograph: Ritesh Khabia

The present and past distribution range of all the 47 species found in the state is depicted in the maps associated with the species account. Its past and present records are shown in different colour dots on the map. The book is authored by Mr Asad Rahmani, Mr A.M.K. Bharos, Mr Ajay Gadikar and Mr Praver Mourya and edited by Mr Dev Kumar Vasudevan. Threatened Birds of Madhya Pradesh is published by Indore-based NGO The Nature Volunteers.

The book especially focuses on avians that breed within the state, and for them, conservation measures are penned in much more detail. The three Critically Endangered vultures, White-rumped Vulture, Indian Vulture and Red-headed Vulture, for example, are covered in depth.

     Indian Vulture Ritesh Khabia | Nature Infocus
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Indian Vulture (Gyps indicus), also referred to as the Long-billed Vulture, is listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List. Photograph: Ritesh Khabia

Another species that is of special significance to the state is the Lesser Florican. Though there are two wildlife sanctuaries designated to the Lesser Florican, local populations have been dwindling and the avian requires urgent attention. The Indian Skimmer, which breeds in the northern part of the state, has also shown a decline in numbers and are covered in detail along with the Black-bellied Tern. The Forest Owlet is another significant species which is covered in detail in the book.

The authors hope that the information-rich book will be useful to birdwatchers, researchers and conservationists alike. They are also hopeful that the book will be useful to forest officers and decision-makers to take effective conservation measures that can save the globally-threatened species of the state.

Anybody interested in procuring a copy can write to: [email protected]