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The Nepalese Ornithological Union (“NOU”) was founded in 2009 to promote scientific activities on birds and their habitat in Nepal. The NOU is a membership based non-profit organization and has special interest in avian taxonomy and ecological research.

The NOU is administered by a committee elected by membership. It has a set of rules that govern the activities of the union.

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Project - Raptor Migration Study in Nepal

World population of 14 % of all diurnal raptors are globally endangered or vulnerable. Out of 338 species of diurnal raptors recorded in the world, Nepal supports total of 60 species. This is due to the rugged topography, diverse vegetation and great altitudinal variation and to the zoogeography of the country. According to Bird Life International five species of vulture, four species of eagle and one species of falcon found in Nepal are listed as globally endangered or vulnerable. Recent reports indicate 41% of raptors in Nepal are nationally threatened. In the world 202 species - 60 % of all diurnal raptors engage in periodic or seasonal movement biologist called migration. Although several species (22) are complete migrants most migrating raptors (104 species) are partial migrants and remaining 76 species are irruptive and local nature, for which movements are associated with less predictable environmental fluctuations. In Nepal approximately 22 species of raptors are winter visitor.

Raptor migration study from the migration corridor is an effective means to assess regional population trends for a number of species. Since the early 1980s, only a handful of partial migration counts estimates 10,000 to 40,000 Steppe Eagles Aquila nipalensis as well as 15 to 30 different raptor species migrating here each autumn from the south of Annapurna. Much remains to be discovered about trans-Himalayan migration. Therefore we propose to conduct several years of raptor migration study along the foothills of Himalayas in Nepal.

Our primary research objective is to determine the extent, timing and age class migration phenology of the Steppe Eagle and other migrating species, as many species move from their summer range in the central Asia/Eastern grasslands of China to as yet unknown wintering areas in western Asia and Africa. The number of Steppe Eagles migrating past the Thoolakharka watch site here in Nepal is extraordinary: it is the highest total for any eagle species on the Indian subcontinent as well as the Far East. By evaluating data we will collect during several migration seasons, we will be able to provide baseline information to conservation biologists on the population size and trend for many raptors including Steppe eagle. Large predators such as eagles and vultures are often the first to decline when ecosystems are stressed. Therefore our study will be one additional means of evaluating changes in grassland habitats in the Far East. Since the late 1990s, four vulture species have declined by over 97% on the Indian subcontinent, making these birds some of the most endangered animals in the world. Therefore we also aim to collect data on flock size and age structure of resident vultures in the region, as well as identify and count migratory vultures as they pass the watch site.

Nepalese Ornithological Union has started this research from 2011 and will be continued for at least 10 years. We believe this study will fulfill the long research gap of raptor migration research in Nepal, and will be an excellent comparison with research done previously.

For more detail about this project, please visit or download our report.

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