AN EXPLORATORY STUDY ON THE MIXED-GROUPING BEHAVIOR OF BIRDS IN SIKKIMAranya Jha, Sangeeta Jha and Ajeya Jha
Mixed species bird flocks are moving groups of individuals from at least two species searching for food together and have been reported from across the world. Hardly any studies are found to exist from India and which is a major gap in literature because with its exceptional avian biodiversity India is an exceptional nurturing ground to understand this phenomenon. Sikkim, as a constituent of eastern Himalayas, is one of the ten foremost biodiversity hotspots of the world and hence is important. The study is essentially an observation of the mixed grouping behavior of the birds â occurrence across seasons, habitats, altitudes, bird size, feeding inclination of mixed group birds, size of groups. Results show interesting variations on the selected variables and the statistical significance of which has been measured to test the corresponding hypotheses. Implications of the study are that this behavior is extremely important from a conservation perspective and also as an indicator of ecological imbalances, habitat alterations and climate change.