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First record of black-headed ibis (threskiornis melanocephalus) in Virar, Taluka Vasai, District Palghar, Maharashtra, India

Author Affiliations

  • 1Mithila Pushpa Chs, Behind Ram Mandir Rd. M. B Estate, Virar (W) – 401303, India
  • 2A-Wing, 701, Rose Building No.-3, Yashwant Nagar, Virar (W)-401303, India

Res. J. Recent Sci., Volume 9, Issue (1), Pages 32-41, January,2 (2020)


Virar, a small town; located in the sub-urban area north west of Mumbai, is a quiet and peaceful place compared to its adjacent metropolitan city. In the lap of nature this city is blessed with exquisite flora and fauna and comparatively with its neighboring metropolitan region of Mumbai it has been a slow in development of infrastructure , which is one of the main reasons behind the huge numbers of birds seeking refuge in this heaven of a place. The climate here is tropical in nature and suits well for a number of birds and animals. The town is blessed with an abundance of wetlands, mud pits, grasslands, marshy swamps and mangroves widespread across the coastal regions. There are a few hilly areas and dense forests too. Located approximately 61kms from Mumbai, Virar; has become a safe haven for wading birds because of its rich natural water and food source. Birds (waders especially) migrating above this town usually land here for a few months and some decide to become migratory- residents as well, because of the abundance of wetlands and grasslands. They nest here; some have even started breeding here and now – a day′s one can spot birds here in their multiple forms i.e. right from being a juvenile – to their breeding plumage state -- to their fully grown mature state. The soil here is rich in Nitrate and wetlands are filled with crabs, bees, frogs, snails, fishes, underwater plants, algae, earthworms, mangrove trees in the salty marshy mud pits and trees with fruit(berries like black currant , white currant etc.) and flowers. Foraging food out of this nutritional soil is very easy for birds as they have complete safety here as only a few or none of humans visit the wetlands. Rice fields in between the patches of wetlands create a perfect hideout for these birds giving them complete privacy and safety from predation by other larger birds of prey. Over the past few years there has been a substantial increase in the numbers of the migratory birds. The main reason behind this is the better air quality and less pollution than the major cities located nearby. Birds here are able to scavenge food very easily as they don′t have to fight for it due to its abundance. Thus they are getting healthier and growing perfectly in an unmonitored environment. Over the past 2 decades many birds have visited and migrated here in huge number of flocks and the numbers are increasing every year with newer species coming to visit every year. As the wetlands remain untouched by humans and no heavy construction or expansion of urban life is being imposed on the birds. They have their independence here to fly, forage and live uninterruptedly. Before 2019 there has been no record yet of Black-headed ibis sitting in the rice fields and grasslands of Virar. This year was the first ever year they decided to visit and stay; and documented record shots were taken of their arrival.


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