Country Report for Central Asian Flyway Overview
A. Brief Introduction
Bangladesh is occupying a unique geographical location in the South Asia. Virtually, the delta
is the only drainage outlet for a vast complex river basin made up of the Ganges,
Brahmaputra and Meghna River and their network of tributaries. There are three broad
physiographic regions in the country. The floodplains occupy about 80 percent; terrace about
8 percent and hills about 12 percent of the land area. So it is evident that with 80 percent
floodplain, Bangladesh is a land of water and wetlands. According to the definition enunciated
in the Ramsar Convention, more than two-thirds of the country’s landmass may be classified
as wetlands. It is a country dominated by wetland encompassing a wide variety of dynamic
ecosystems such as that is estuaries, mangroves namely the Sundarbans, freshwater
marshes such as
haor1, swamps and rivers.
The wetlands are the important habitat of migratory waterbird population. There are about
628 bird species in Bangladesh, out of which 244 are Migratory. The wetlands are the abode
of about 70 species of resident waterbirds including ducks, grebe, cormorants, bitterns,
herons, egrets, storks, rails, jacanas, finfoot, waders, gulls, turns, skimmers etc. and many
other water dependant birds. As mentioned in the IUCN Red Book, about 100 species of
migratory birds regularly or occasionally visit the country.
"The Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy" 2001-2005, identified 50
species of migratory waterbirds as threatened, out of which 14 species occur in Bangladesh.
In addition to that eleven species of resident waterbirds are also identified as threatened.
Source:The Red Book of Threatened Birds of Bangladesh 2000)
The important threatened species are Masked Finfoot
(Heliopais personata), Indian Skimmer
Black-headed Ibis (Treskeornis melanocephala), Greater Adjutant (L.
Lesser Adjutant, Baikal Teal (Anas formosa), Baer's Pochard (Aythya baeri),
(Aythya ferina), Wood snipe (Gallinago nemoricola), Norman's Green
(Tringa guttifer), Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Eurynorynchus pygmeus).
The wetlands of Bangladesh are being degraded rapidly due to population pressure,
withdrawal of water for irrigation, destruction of swamp forest and many other anthropogenic
and natural causes. Large scale habitat conversion, unsustainable harvesting policies and
lack of ecological considerations have led to the destruction of valuable wetland habitat for
water birds and other associated biodiversity. Immediate action is required for restoring these
habitats and conserving the water birds in Bangladesh.