Pooja Yashwant Pawar

Research Affiliate, Western Ghats

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M.Sc. Wildlife Biology and Conservation, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore

As a nature enthusiast, I was always fascinated by various ecosystems, especially arid landscapes; but one visit to the Anamalai Hills was captivating enough for me to stick to this magical landscape.C ombining my interests in landscape ecology and in understanding how wildlife responds to a large scale changes in habitat, I studied Great Hornbills for my masters’ dissertation at NCBS in 2016, looking at their behaviour and breeding biology in the human-modified landscape of Valparai and surrounding protected areas. Currently, I am in Valparai trying to understand hornbill populations in the Anamalais.

Projects

Gh in flight

Hornbill hotspots

Hornbill distribution and conservation threats

Publications

  • Journal Article
    2018
    Breeding biology of Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis in tropical rainforest and human-modified plantation landscape in Western Ghats, India
    Ornithological Science, 17:205-216
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    PDF, 356 KB

    Loss of mature tropical forests to agricultural expansion often creates landscapes with forest fragments embedded within a matrix of human-modified habitats and land uses. Such habitat fragmentation may be detrimental to species with specialized habitat and foraging requirements and their ability to persist in such landscapes may depend on their adaptability to habitat modification. Great Hornbills Buceros bicornis, among the largest birds in Asian tropical rainforests, depend on large trees for nesting and a diverse array of patchily distributed fruiting trees. In the human-modified landscape of the Anamalai Hills, India, we compared the breeding biology and nesting behaviour of Great Hornbills in contiguous rainforest (N=3 nests) and in modified habitat consisting of coffee plantations and rainforest fragments (N=5 nests). The nesting cycle of seven of the eight nests monitored varied between 114 and 130 days. Nest provisioning behaviour was similar in contiguous forest and modified habitat in terms of visitation and food delivery rates, but visitation tended to be higher and food delivery rate lower during the nestling phase than during incubation. As expected, tree density and native food plant diversity were lower in modified habitat than in continuous forest. The diversity of food provisioned was lower in modified habitat with a 57.5% dietary overlap with contiguous forest. Hornbills in the modified habitat of coffee plantations used non-native tree species for nesting and foraging, indicating their adaptability to modified landscapes.

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