Central Asian Flyway


    In News

    • A virtual two-day CAF range countries’ meeting was held recently.


    • What is a Flyway?

    It is a geographical region within which a single or a group of migratory species completes its annual cycle – breeding, moulting, staging and non-breeding.

    Image Courtesy: TOI

    • Background:
      • At the 13th meeting of the Conference of Parties (CoP) to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), held at Gandhinagar in February 2020, a resolution was adopted under the leadership of India with the aim to agree on conservation action for migratory birds.
      • With a view to fulfil its commitment, India organized a two-day online meeting recently, with CAF Range Countries, anchored in the Wildlife Institute of India.
    • Central Asian Flyway
      • Area Covered
        • CAF covers a large area of Eurasia between the Arctic and Indian Oceans.
      • Including India, there are 30 countries under the Central Asian Flyway.
      • Extent 
        • It involves migration routes of waterbirds, extending from the northernmost breeding grounds in Siberia to the southernmost non-breeding wintering grounds in West Asia, India, the Maldives and British Indian Ocean Territory.
      • These wintering areas are geographically separate and present entirely different ecological, historical and cultural situations.

    Image Courtesy: DeccanHerald

    What is migration? Why is it significant?

    • Migration is an adaptation mechanism to help birds overcome weather adversities and the unavailability of food in colder regions.
    • The importance of bird migrations on the health of the ecosystems is well-established.
    • Saving migratory birds means saving the wetlands, terrestrial habitats and saving an ecosystem, benefiting communities dependent on wetlands.

     Challenges faced by migratory birds

    • Increased habitat loss globally during the last decade.
    • The decreased area under water bodies, wetlands, natural grasslands and forests.
    • Increased weather variability and climate change have resulted in the loss of biodiversity for migratory birds.

    Major Migratory Birds

    Critically Endangered

    Northern bald ibis, white-bellied heron, Baer’s pochard


    Greater adjutant


    Black-necked crane, Indian skimmer, lesser adjutant, masked finfoot, Socotra cormorant, wood snipe

    Near Threatened

    Black-headed ibis, lesser flamingo, pygmy cormorant, white-eyed gull

    Why do countries need to protect Flyways? 

    • Approximately one in five of the world’s 11,000 bird species migrate, some covering enormous distances.
    • Safeguarding flyways means protecting the birds from poachers, rejuvenating wetlands among others. Saving the wetlands, terrestrial habitats help in fulfilling the bigger purpose of saving an ecosystem. 

    Way Forward

    • Conserving migratory birds requires cooperation and coordination along the entire Central Asian Flyway (CAF) between countries and across national boundaries.

    Source: PIB