Ornis Hungarica. vol.28(2). (2020) p.85-110.
Bird species assemblages in railway stations: variations along an urban-rural gradient
The transportation infrastructures like railway tracks and roads bear negative impacts on natural environment. However, the opposite effects are also true in some instances where the man-made constructions have positive effect on faunal assemblages. This proposition was justified through the assessment of bird species using railway stations as model man-made structures in an urban-rural gradient, in the suburbs of Kolkata, India. During the entire study period along nine different railway stations, a total of 43 bird species belonging to 12 orders and 26 families were observed. Among these, the order Passeriformes was predominant in its species composition having 18 different species from 11 different families. In urban railway stations, a total of 23 bird species under 22 genera and 14 families were observed. In suburban railway stations, a total of 35 bird species under 32 genera and 22 families were documented. The railway stations from rural region showed the maximum number of species and abundance of bird families, where a total of 36 bird species under 32 genera and 23 families were observed. The railway stations from the suburban and rural regions were more similar in species composition. Irrespective of the locations, during the entire study period, the House Crow (Corvus splendens) was the dominant species followed by the Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis). About 18 bird species exhibited a decreasing population trend observed through the global population trend analysis. In all the railway stations, the abundance of omnivores were dominant while, the number of granivores were higher in the rural regions and the nectarivores were absent in the urban regions. It was apparent that the railway stations bear a positive effect on the bird species assemblages, which can be sustained through proper environmental management planning inclusive of urban greening.