The University of Pune campus has an approximate area of 160 hectares and is located in the northwestern part of the city of Pune, India. Under British rule, the campus formed the summer residence of the Governor of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency. The Univerity of Poona (now, University of Pune), was established by an act of the legislature in 1948, soon after independence. The governor's residence became the main administrative complex in the University. Over the years several new buildings were constructed in the grounds of the governor's residence to house the academic departments of a growing university.
The campus is unique in India, in having extensive plantation of of an West-African deciduous plant Dalbergia melanoxylon, which dominates the open drylands, scrublands and patchy open deciduous forest on the campus. There are a few evergreen patches, and agricultural farmlands as well. All these together form a varied and fascinating combination of ecosystems supporting a wide variety of bird species.
There are three distinct seasons in this part of India: Summer (March-May), Rainy season (June-October), and Winter (November- February). The campus is verdant green during the rains, but the dominant color changes to brown soon after the rains are over. The area receives about 1000 m.m. of rain every year, most of it between June and September.
The University campus contains many fragmented patches of open dry deciduous forest. As mentioned above, the University is dominated by Dalbergia melaxylon. Other common large trees include Banyan (Ficus bengalensis), Red Silk Cotton (Salamalia malabarica), the Rain Tree (Pithecellobium saman), Gulmohur (Delonix regia), Neem (Azadarichta indica), the Indian Cork Tree (Millingtonia hortensis), Mango (Mangifera indica), Peepul (Ficus religiosa), the Flame of the Forest (Butea monosperma), and Copper Pod (Peltophorum roxburghii).
There are several open areas which support grass during the rains. However most of the grass is destroyed during the dry season.
The mammals commonly seen on campus are: Bandicoot Rat (Bandicota indica), House Rat Rattus rattus, Small Indian Mongoose (Herpestes javanicus), Three Striped Squirrel (Funambulus palmarum), Hanuman Langur (Semnopithecus entellus) and Flying Fox (Pteropus giganteus). Jackals were common on campus until about 15 years ago, but they are no longer seen. Reptiles seen include 14 species of snakes, 1 species of Skink and 1 species of Garden Lizard. I am not aware of any efforts to document the butterflies and other insects found on the campus.
The birds presented in this list were observed during the period June 1997 to June 1999. I watched for birds in a intermittent and irregular fashion. Several uncommon species may have been missed because of this. This checklist only includes birds that I have personally sighted. It is intended to be used as a revised version of a similar checklist prepared by Jayshree Oberoi in 1996. All habitats in the University were covered more than once, so it is unlikely that a whole set of species characteristic of a particular habibat were missed.
The main reference used for bird identification was the Compact Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan by Salim Ali and S. Dillon Ripley. The English names are as listed in the Handbook. The Pictorial Guide of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by Salim Ali and S. Dillon Ripley was extensively used in the field as an identification aid, although all observations were compared with the descriptions in the Handbook, to avoid errors in identification.
69 Species from as many as 29 families have been recorded in this checklist. Nesting records have been marked with an asterisk. Birds sighted less than three times (by me) may be considered to be rare and are indicated in bold letters. Subspecies have not been mentioned unless unambiguous identification was made (eg. Black Redstart). Unusual observations of bird behavior and nesting records for individual species are at the end of this checklist.
Family : Accipitridae
|BROWN KITE||Milvus migrans|
|BLACKWINGED KITE||Elanus caeruleus|
|WHITEBREASTED WATERHEN||Amaurornis phoenicurus|
|POND HERON||Ardeola greyii|
|NIGHT HERON||Nycticorax nycticorax|
|CATTLE EGRET||Bubulcus ibis|
|LITTLE EGRET||Egretta garzetta|
|BLUE ROCK PIGEON*||Columba livia|
|SPOTTED DOVE||Streptopelia chinensis|
|LITTLE BROWN DOVE||Streptopelia senegalensis|
|REDWATTLED LAPWING*||Vanellus indicus|
|YELLOW-WATTLED LAPWING||Vanellus malabaricus|
|INDIAN KOEL||Eudynamys scolopacea|
|INDIAN PLAINTIVE CUCKOO||Cacomantis passerinus|
|CROW PHEASANT||Centropus sinensis|
|ROSERINGED PARAKEET*||Psittacula krameri|
|HOUSE SWIFT||Apus affinis|
|WHITEBREASTED KINGFISHER||Halcyon smyrnensis|
|SMALL BLUE KINGFISHER||Alcedo althis|
|LESSER PIED KINGFISHER||Ceryle rudis|
|CRIMSONBREASTED BARBET *||Megalaima haemacephala|
|MAHRATTA WOODPECKER||Picoides mahrattensis|
|DUSKY CRAG MARTIN*||Hirundo concolar|
|COMMON SWALLOW||Hirundo rustica|
|REDRUMPED SWALLOW||Hirundo daurica|
|WIRETAILED SWALLOW||Hirundo smithii|
|RUFOUSBACKED SHRIKE||Lanius schach|
|GOLDEN ORIOLE*||Oriolus oriolus|
|COMMON MYNA||Acridotheres tristis|
|JUNGLE MYNA||Acridotheres fuscus|
|REDVENTED BULBUL*||Pycnonotus cafer|
|REDWHISKERED BULBUL*||Pycnonotus jocosus|
|LARGE GREY BABBLER||Turdoides malcolmi|
|TICKELL'S BLUE FLYCATCHER||Muscicappa tickelliae|
|ASHY WREN WARBLER||Prinia socialis|
|PLAIN WREN WARBLER||Prinia subflava|
|JUNGLE WREN WARBLER||Prinia sylvatica|
|FRANKLIN'S WREN WARBLER||Prinia hodgsonii|
|STREAKED FANTAIL WARBLER*||Cisticola juncidis|
|MAGPIE ROBIN||Copsicus saularis|
|LESSER WHITETHROAT||Sylvia curruca|
|BLACK REDSTART||Phoenicurus ochrurus phoenicuroides|
|INDIAN ROBIN||Saxicoloides fulicata|
|TAILOR BIRD||Orthotomus sutorius|
|BROWN LEAF WARBLER||Phylloscopus collybita|
|GREY TIT||Parus major|
|PURPLERUMPED SUNBIRD*||Nectarinia zeylonica|
|PURPLE SUNBIRD||Nectarinia asiatica|
|WHITE EYE*||Zosterops palpebrosa|
|SPOTTED MUNIA*||Loncura punctulata|
|BAYA WEAVER BIRD*||Ploceus phillipinus|
|HOUSE SPARROW||Passer domesticus|
|GREY WAGTAIL||Motacilla caspica|
|LARGE PIED WAGTAIL||Motacilla maderaspatensis|
|WHITE WAGTAIL||Motacilla alba|
|SMALL GREEN BEE-EATER||Merops orientalis|
|GREY HORNBILL*||Tockus birostris|
|BLACK DRONGO||Dicrurus adsimilis|
|JUNGLE CROW||Corvus macrorhyncos|
|HOUSE CROW*||Corvus splendens|
|SPOTTED OWLET||Athene brama|
|MOTTLED WOOD-OWL||Strix ocellata|
|BLACKHEADED CUCKOO-SHRIKE||Coracina melanoptera|
|SMALL MINIVET||Pericrocotus cinnamomeus|
|TICKELL'S FLOWERPECKER||Dicaeum erythrorhynchos|
A continuously updated, searchable, database backed version of this document should become available at the following URL sometime soon.
This diverse avian heritage of the University of Pune is threathened today by habitat destruction, fragmentation and increased human disturbance.
Several new buildings have come up on campus in recent years resulting in loss of bird habitat. Many of the new buildings are surrounded by close cropped lawns resulting in further habitat loss. Even in some wooded areas, the undergrowth has been indiscriminately cleared to make way for development of the area. This has adversely affected the nesting and feeding of undergrowth flitters like the 10 species from the Warbler sub-family found on campus. Dry trees (some of them are termite affected) are regularly chopped off. Several birds on campus like the Crimsonbreasted Barbet and the Grey Hornbill build their nests in the dry hollow trunks of dead tr ees.
Some open areas (which are labeled wastelands by the University authorities) have been converted to walkways. This has severely threathened the nesting of ground nesting birds such as the Redwattled Lapwing and the Yellow-wattled Lapwing.
There has been considerable increase in vehicular and pedestrian traffic through the campus in the last 5 years. Many people drive to the campus early in the morning and have their morning walk through the campus. This time coincides with the time of maximum bird activity which is affected by the heavy influx of people. This problem is particularly severe on weekends and during the summer vacations.
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