Hindu Kush Himalayan Biodiversity Information Facility


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hkhbif publication

An annotated bird checklist
In the Indian Himalayan region, community-managed lands such as community-managed forests and agriculture lands play an important role in conserving native biodiversity. Our avifaunal surveys done between 2013 and 2016 recorded 205 species belonging to 52 families. Two species were first records from Pithoragarh district. Six species are classified as Threatened and five as Near Threatened in the IUCN Red List. Six are Schedule-I species under the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. In total, 63 migratory (local/altitudinal and long-range) and 81 Himalayan endemic species were observed. Overall, our observations reveal a niche providing both transient and perennial havens for resident and migrant avifauna in our study site’s landscape. Our findings suggest that despite human persistence in the landscape, diversity within avifaunal guilds is rich in the community-managed lands. We recommend further research to focus on understanding the factors governing the bird distribution and co-occurrence in the landscape.

The Hand Book of Flowering Plants of Nepal
Mistletoes constitute a polyphyletic group of flowering parasitic plants and are commonly known as ainjeru or lisso in Nepali. Of the over 1,300 mistletoe species occurring worldwide, Nepal is home to 19. Mistletoes are entirely dependent on their hosts for water and nutrients and affect their hosts mainly by competing for limited resources. Mistletoes play a vital role in natural plant communities by interacting with hosts, herbivores, and dispersers. A large number of invertebrates and vertebrates use mistletoes as shelter, as a nesting and roosting place, and as an important source of food. Oddly, botanists have accorded little attention to Nepal’s mistletoes, and our knowledge of this remarkable group of plants is quite limited.

The Hand Book of Flowering Plants of Nepal
Globally, high elevation habitats have been independently colonized by taxa separated by millions of years of evolution. Mountains thus represent excellent systems to study how distantly related species adapt to the same environmental challenges. Cold temperatures influence the elevational distribution of birds along montane gradients. Yet the eco‐physiological adaptations that may explain this pattern, such as variation in insulative feather structure across high elevation and low elevation species has not been quantified. We used a comparative approach to understand if elevation, evolutionary history and body size drive variation in thermo‐insulative feather traits across 1715 specimens of 249 Himalayan passerines. Controlling for phylogenetic relationships between species, we found that the proportion of the feather’s plumulaceous (downy) section increased with elevation. Body size also had a predictable effect on thermo‐insulative variables with small birds having relatively longer feathers and thus a more insulative plumage than large birds. We show that an increase in the proportion of the feather’s downy section at colder temperatures is an evolutionarily widespread response across temperate and tropical taxa, and overall, smaller‐bodied birds tend to have longer and more insulative feathers. Our results reveal convergent patterns in feather structure variation as a response to cold temperatures across species separated by millions of years of evolution.

The Hand Book of Flowering Plants of Nepal

The Handbook of Flowering Plants of Nepal (Shrestha et al. 2017) is an updated version of “Enumeration of the Flowering Plants of Nepal Vols. 1-3 (Hara et al. 1978-1982)”, and “Annotated Checklist of Flowering plants of Nepal (Press et al. 2000)”. It is the first of two intended volumes. The publication outlines 91 families (Cycadaceae – Betulaceae), 696 genera and ca. 3004 taxa (2857 species, 33 subspecies, 113 varieties, and 1 forma) of gymnosperms and flowering plants (nearly 40 percent species of Nepal flora). It also includes 103 exotic species, and 137 species of doubtful or uncertain origin. Additional information includes information on type specimen of endemic species of Nepal. Similarly, Nepali names, English names, life forms, elevation ranges, and general distribution are provided for each species. Furthermore, economic use values of most of the species (with parts use), and information on species with IUCN Red List category, and CITES Appendices are also provided. Arrangement of orders and families is based on Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG IV, 2016), whereas, genera and species are arranged in alphabetical order. The book also covers basic information on global biodiversity; vegetation, forest types and flora of Nepal.“This book represents a major stepping-stone on the pathway in completing the Flora of Nepal, and is an indispensable resource for anyone working on Nepalese plants”- says Dr Mark F Watson, Editor-in-Chief, Flora of Nepal, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, UK.

Checklist of the dragonflies and damselflies

A checklist of the dragonflies and damselflies occurring in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India (including Andaman and Nicobar Islands), Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka is presented. In total 588 (including 559 full species) taxa are known to occur in the region of which 251 taxa (species & subspecies) are single country endemics. Recent taxonomic changes relevant to the area are summarized. Sixteen taxa are synonymized and a checklist of all synonyms established since 1950 is provided. Information is given on available larval descriptions including a list of genera present in the region for which no larvae have yet been described. Numerous species occurring in the area are still poorly known and a list of genera for which a revision is urgently needed is provided.