Last update: April 2010
The study of the non-breeding (wintering) grounds for waterfowl allows identification of areas where a broad range of species congregate. These sites of spatial overlap in migratory flyways are associated with a high density of bird species providing conditions that are conducive to the transmission and outbreak of avian disease. In December 2008, an international team from the United Nations-FAO, the Indian Ministry of Agriculture, Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests, Wetlands International, the Bombay Natural History Society, the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal, the US Geological Survey (Western Ecological Research Center, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, and Alaska Science Center), studied disease ecology of several waterfowl species including Garganey (Anas querquedula), Common Teal (Anas crecca), Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope), Gadwall (Anas strepera), Northern Shovellor (Anas clypeata), Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) and Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea), working in cooperation with the University of Wales Bangor to also examine migratory ecology and flight performance of Bar-headed Geese (Anser indicus) with the support of the Max Planck Institute for Migration, Germany and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, UK. These species were targeted for investigation owing to their demonstrated ability to host avian influenza virus (AIV). This collaborative effort will provide insights into the role of wild birds, with major non-breeding grounds in India, in the epidemiology of AIV. These species were targeted for investigation owing to their demonstrated ability to host avian influenza virus (AIV). This collaborative effort will provide insights into the role of wild birds, with major non-breeding grounds in India, in the epidemiology of AIV. The objectives of this research were to: 1) capture and mark bar-headed geese and several other waterfowl species at three sites within India to examine their migration routes and respective breeding grounds; and 2) sample the prevalence of AIV and other pathogens in waterfowl species and establish their capacity to spread them.
Read press release "Satellite-Tracked Birds from India Will Provide Clues on How Avian Influenza Spreads"
Historical locations of migratory birds
For more details on the movements of these birds, please visit the USGS website