Community structure of birds in wheat crop fields of Central Gujarat
CK Borad and BM Parasharya
The study on avian community structure utilizing wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) fields was conducted in Matar and Thasra Tahsils of central Gujarat during winter (rabi) season of year 2007-2008. Avian species richness, community structure, species diversity, and guild structure of bird were worked out during early (sowing and germination stage), and late stages (vegetative stage and crop maturing stages) using variable distance line transect census method.
During entire cropping season, total 80 species of birds were recorded from the study area starting from Germination to the milking stage of crop growth. Total 72 species in early period of growth and 63 species in later stage of wheat crop growth were recorded. Over all relative abundance of birds in wheat fields was as follow: Cattle Egret (50.91%) followed by Yellow Wagtail (22.81%), Glossy Ibis (6.47%), Black Drongo (15.31%), Indian Ring Dove (3.93%). In early growth stage, Cattle Egret (50.71%) was dominant species followed by Yellow Wagtail (24.71%), Glossy Ibis (6.52%), Indian Ring Dove (3.91%) and Red-wattled Lapwing (3.49%). In later growth stage, Cattle Egret (44.64%) was dominant species followed by Black Drongo (12.82%), Barn Swallow (9.42%), Indian Blue Peacock (8.12%) and Bank Myna (6.49%).
The importance of wheat fields as foraging habitat of birds requires consideration because this habitat will persist, and possibly increase, in the region. The wheat field supports about 20% of the total species recorded in the central Gujarat suggesting that wheat growing area is useful habitat to manage and conserve the birds in the region. On other side, dominancy of insectivorous birds in wheat crop fields needs to be highlighted as regulator of insect pests in crop fields.