Birding in Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh:
Grassland ecosystems are one of the finest ecosystems in the world which support very good populations of birds especially
the grasslands specialist. Among such grasslands ecosystems in India, Rollapadu wildlife sanctuary is one of the finest grasslands present in India. This sanctuary was formed in the year 1988especially to protect the endangered bird The Great Indian Bustard
(Ardeotis nigriceps) and also Lesser Florican (Sypheotides
indicus) which nests in this region.Topography of the sanctuary is gentle
undulating plains with an elevation of 290m and vegetation is of Southern Tropical Thorn Forest type. Climate is mostly hot and dry for a period of more than 8 months with mean annual temperatures about28°C, maximum being 42°C and minimum being 18°C.Average
rainfall of the area is 450mm and usually it varies. It is open dry grassland with interspersed thorny bushes. The flora includes grasses like Arisitida
funiculata, Chrysopogon fulvus, Heteropogan contortus, Sehima nervosum, Dicanthium pseudoischaemun and small tree species like Morinda sp,
Pheonix sp. etc. Fauna includes blackbuck, jackal, wolf, Indian fox, bonnet
macaque, Indian bustard, Indian roller, sparrows, mynas and pipits, Russell's viper, Indian cobras etc.
The sanctuary is
bordered with the agricultural lands cultivated with dry-land crops like that of sun flower, tobacco and cotton. A small village named Rollapadu lies closely to the sanctuary. A mud-road passes through the sanctuary, which bisects the sanctuary; it is used
for transportation by villagers to reach the agricultural fields present on the other side of the sanctuary. A small man-made water body is maintained in the sanctuary to quest the thirst of wildlife. Alaganur reservoir is another man-made reservoir present
adjacent to the sanctuary to store the rain water. This is located three km towards east of Rollapadu village. Prosopis
sp. covers the dry area during dry season.
Nearly132 species of birds were recorded which included the resident and migrants (winter). The resident birds included a wide
range of them starting from small sized warblers to the huge sized Short-toed snake eagle. The tall trees interspersed provided nesting for the large sized raptors like that of Eagles and the old abandoned wells acted as nesting sites for the Eurasian eagle-owl.
The reservoir served as a roosting and nesting place for many aquatic birds including winter migrants such as the Bar headed geese, demoiselle cranes, harriers etc. Short-eared owls roosted in scrubby areas. It is also doubted that Greater Flamingo’s use this
area as passage route during their migration to southern parts of India.
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