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Academic & Professional Books  Ornithology  Non-Passerines  Seabirds, Shorebirds & Wildfowl

The Painted Stork Exploring Ecology and Conservation in India

By: Abdul Jamil Urfi(Author), William J Sutherland(Foreword By), Raghavendra Gadagkar(Preface By)
191 pages, colour photos, colour illustrations, colour maps, colour tables
The Painted Stork
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  • The Painted Stork ISBN: 9781784274399 Paperback Jan 2024 In stock
Price: £24.99
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About this book

A charismatic and arresting bird, the Painted Stork inhabits the plains and wetlands of India and Southeast Asia. This near-threatened species provides a good model through which to explore a variety of ecology and conservation issues. As a colonial nester, it is also useful for considering questions related to evolution and the development of avian coloniality. The Painted Stork sometimes nests opportunistically in the middle of large cities – the Delhi Zoo colony, for instance, has been active since 1960. This offers a splendid opportunity to study the species at close range, as attested by this book's lively photographic component.

The Painted Stork is an important indicator of its wetland habitats, which themselves are highly threatened. Since environmental toxins, particularly organochlorine pesticides, travel rapidly along aquatic food chains, the study of piscivorous birds like the Painted Stork assumes special significance. Equally vulnerable today are the nesting colonies, located in marshes, village reservoirs and the wider countryside, including in urban settings. Perhaps because their natural nesting areas are becoming scarce due to habitat loss, colonial waterbirds look for suitable sites in parks and gardens. Hence, the behaviour of this species reflects changes occurring in its environment.

Birds also help us monitor the effects of global climate change, and one of the most significant dimensions of the Painted Stork is its dependence upon the monsoon. How exactly do these seasonal rains govern the food cycles in wetlands? And what happens when the monsoon fails? Covering all aspects of Painted Stork ecology, behaviour, conservation and its relationship with humans, this accessible monograph contains a wealth of new insights.

Customer Reviews


Abdul Jamil Urfi has been researching the ecology and conservation of Painted Stork in India for more than 35 years, with a special focus on the colony at Delhi Zoo. A professor of environmental studies at the University of Delhi, he has published three previous books, including Birds of India: A Literary Anthology (2011). He is a member of IUCN’s stork, ibis and spoonbill species survival commission.

By: Abdul Jamil Urfi(Author), William J Sutherland(Foreword By), Raghavendra Gadagkar(Preface By)
191 pages, colour photos, colour illustrations, colour maps, colour tables
Media reviews

"I am pleased to recommend The Painted Stork to a wide range of readers all over the world and especially in India. There is a great dearth of role-models and books that inspire and inform us about the potential for conducting first-rate science that can be combined with a passion for the outdoors, a love of wildlife, the spirit of adventure and freedom from the need to procure large grants and laboratory facilities. Urfi's life and work fulfil this need admirably."
– Raghavendra Gadagkar, Indian Institute of Science (taken from the prologue)

"Urfi is an accomplished scientist, and a passionate and dedicated naturalist with a special interest in birds. He also hails from a family of distinguished litterateurs and poets, and this combination permeates this easy-to-read, yet technically informative and elegant book. Urfi draws upon decades of his own research on the Painted Stork, but also seamlessly places it in the broader context of ecology and conservation, especially how organisms are dealing with living in an increasingly urban, human-dominated landscape. The result is a book that will be informative for scientists, useful for conservationists, and delightfully inspiring for young budding naturalists."
– Prof Amitabh Joshi, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research

"The Painted Stork weaves together folklore, the author's long-term scientific research, and his perceptive observations as a naturalist to tell the story of an iconic South Asian bird. Abdul Jamil Urfi uses his research on this bird to inform some important conservation initiatives."
– Robert Montgomerie, Queen's University

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