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Bird Migration Across the Himalayas: Wetland Functioning Amidst Mountains and Glaciers

By: Herbert HT Prins(Editor), Tsewang Namgail(Editor), The Dalai Lama(Foreword By)

440 pages, 32 plates with 110 colour photos, colour illustrations and colour maps; 52 b/w photos and b/w illustrations, 35 b/w maps, 30 tables

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Apr 2017 | #231628 | ISBN-13: 9781107114715
Availability: In stock
NHBS Price: £74.99 $95/€84 approx

About this book

Birds migrating across the Himalayan region fly over the highest peaks in the world, facing immense physiological and climatic challenges. The authors show the different strategies used by birds to cope with these challenges. Many wetland avian species are seen in the high-altitude lakes of the Himalayas and the adjoining Tibetan Plateau, such as Bar-Headed Geese. Ringing programmes have generated information about origins and destinations, and Bird Migration Across the Himalayas is the first to present information on the bird's exact migratory paths. Capitalising on knowledge generated through satellite telemetry, the authors describe the migratory routes of a multitude of birds flying over or skirting the Himalayas. The myriad of threats to migratory birds and the wetland system in the Central Asian Flyway are discussed, with ways to mitigate them. Bird Migration Across the Himalayas will inform and persuade policy-makers and conservation practitioners to take appropriate measures for the long-term survival of this unique migration.

"[...] Somewhat surprisingly, the contributions in the second section are non-avian [...] Moreover, some of the ornithological contributions of other sections are focused on birds in the region in general rather than on migration in the region in particular [...] This makes the book feel rather disjointed in places and unfocused relative to the main unifying theme. That said, each contribution is interesting in its own right and the overall book is as consistent in style, formatting, and use of tables/figures as is possible in such a multi-author compilation [...] Overall, this is an interesting book for anyone who shares the editors' fascination for the Himalayas and their wildlife and, for the most part, people interested in bird migration or wetland bird ecology more generally."
– Anne Goodenough, BES Bulletin, 49(1)



Part I. Migratory Routes and Movement Ecology:
1. Goose migration across the Himalayas: migratory routes and movement patterns of bar-headed geese
2. Himalayan thoroughfare: migratory routes of ducks over the rooftop of the world
3. Migratory routes across the Himalayas used by Demoiselle Cranes
4. Passerine migration across the Himalayas
5. Wader migration across the Himalayas
6. Raptor migration across and around the Himalayas
7. Steppe Eagle migration from Mongolia to India
8. Peregrine Falcons crossing the 'Roof of the World'

Part II. Physiography of the Highest Barrier on Earth:
9. Geological origin and evolution of the Himalayas
10. Late Quaternary glacier fluctuations in the Himalayas and adjacent mountains
11. The influence of hydrology and glaciology on wetlands in the Himalayas
12. The Himalayan vegetation along horizontal and vertical gradients
13. Assessing the evidence for changes in vegetation phenology in high altitude wetlands of Ladakh (2002–2015)

Part III. High-Altitude Migration Strategies:
14. The wind system in the Himalayas: from a bird's-eye view
15. Birds, gliders and uplift systems over the Himalayas
16. Goose migration over the Himalayas: physiological adaptations
17. Distance-altitude trade off may explain why some migratory birds fly over and not around the Himalayas
18. Refuelling stations for waterbirds: macroinvertebrate biomass in relation to altitude in the Trans-Himalayas
19. The Himalayas as an ecological barrier for avian migrants: high and dry, but also dangerous?
20. Bird species diversity on an elevational gradient between the Greater Himalaya and the Tibetan Plateau

Part IV. People and their Effects on the Himalayas:
21. Evidence of human presence in the Himalayan mountains: new insights from petroglyphs
22. Pastoralism and wetland resources in Ladakh's Changthang plateau
23. Impacts of tourism and military presence on wetlands and their avifauna in the Himalayas
24. Birds in relation to farming and livestock grazing in the Indian Trans-Himalaya
25. Migratory ducks and protected wetlands in India
26. A network of small, dispersed Himalayan wetlands suitable for designation under the Ramsar Convention

Part V. Conclusions:
27. Bird migration across the Himalayas and beyond: the need for better conservation and management of a natural wonder

Appendix. Locations (places, mountains, rivers, etc.) mentioned in the chapters and their geographic coordinates

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Herbert H. T. Prins is professor in Resource Ecology at Wageningen University, The Netherlands. He is known for savanna ecology and has investigated wild goose ecology in Europe, on Spitsbergen and in Siberia. For his conservation efforts, he received the Aldo Leopold Award from the American Society of Mammalogists, and was appointed Officer in the Order of Oranje Nassau and Officer in the Order of the Golden Ark.

Tsewang Namgail heads the Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust. After his higher education in Europe, he moved to the USA and worked on migratory birds. He has done pioneering ecological work on mammals in the Himalayas and serves on the editorial board of Ecological Research and Pastoralism journals.


- His Holiness the Dalai Lama
- Tsewang Namgail
- Herbert H. T. Prins
- John Y. Takekawa
- Eric C. Palm
- Diann J. Prosser
- Lucy A. Hawkes
- Nyambayar Batbayar
- Sivananinthaperumal Balachandran
- Ze Luo
- Xiangming Xiao
- Scott H. Newman
- Taej Mundkur
- Víctor Martín Vélez
- Hiroyoshi Higuchi
- Jason Minton
- Simon Delany
- Charles Williams
- Clare Sulston
- John Norton
- David Garbutt
- Matías A. Juhant
- Keith L. Bildstein
- Hansoo Lee
- Andrew Dixon
- Md Lutfor Rahman
- Aleksandr Sokolov
- Vasiliy Sokolov
- Michael Searle
- Lewis Owen
- Bodo Bookhagen
- Gopal S. Rawat
- Sumanta Bagchi
- Ekta Gupta
- Karthik Murthy
- Navinder J. Singh
- Klaus Ohlman
- René Heise
- C. M. Bishop
- P. J. Butler
- P. B. Frappell
- J. U. Meir
- W. K. Milsom
- T. Natsagdorj
- G. S. Scott
- Thomas A. Groen
- Rob J. Jansen
- Ron C. Ydenberg
- Sipke E. van Wieren
- Martin Vernier
- Laurianne Bruneau
- Sunetro Ghosal
- Monisha Ahmed
- Blaise Humbert-Droz
- T. R. Shankar Raman
- Kulbhushansingh R. Suryawanshi
- Charudutt Mishra
- Ponnusamy Sathiyaselvam
- Tracy McCracken

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