The flats of Banni conceal many depressions where rainwater gets collected during a good monsoon. These shallow water bodies are locally known as dhand, jheel or talav.
ChhariDhand is the largest of these, with an area of almost 10 sq km. More than 50,000 waterfowls and 55 distinct animal species have been recorded here, while more than 30,000 birds have been reported during winter. Endangered species like Dalmatian Pelican (Pelicanuscrispus), Oriental Darter (Anhingiarufa), Blacknecked Stork (Ephippiorhynchusasiaticus) and Indian Skimmer (Rynchopsalbicollis) migrate through these wetlands every year. Waterfowl are not the only migratory birds attracted to this region. In fact, 32 species of Raptors have been recorded here, together with a large number of Common Cranes.
Due to this rich biodiversity, the ChhariDhand and some of its adjoining wetlands are under serious consideration for inclusion in the Ramsar Convention.
Gujarat itself is on the migratory route of thousands of bird species making it the ideal stopping point for bird-lovers. About the half the world’s Lesser Florican, an endangered species, breeds in the grasslands of Kutch, Saurashtra and Dahod districts during the monsoon. The only known breeding area the Lesser Flamingo is in the Ranns of Kutch. For a complete listing of resident and migratory birds found in Gujarat visit www.birdsofgujarat.net