White-Backed Vulture
A white-backed vulture eating while under observation at the Vulture Care Centre, in Pinjore, Haryana.Reuters

It is a tragic reality that there are as many as 14 species of Indian birds that are critically endangered; these include the Indian Vulture, the Bengal Florican (or the Bengal Bustard) and the Red-Headed Vulture. The information was released via a press release by the Indian Ministry of Environments and Forests.

The Ministry's report was compiled after referring to various reports by scientific institutions like the Wildlife Institute of India (Dehradun), the Bombay Natural History Society (Mumbai) and the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (Coimbatore), as well as the IUCN's Red List - version 2010.1.

The details were given after a question from Kanwar Deep Singh, a Member of Parliament, in a Rajya Sabha session on Wednesday.

The full list is given below:

S. No.

Common Name

Scientific Name



1 White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis Accipitridae CR
2 Indian Vulture Gyps indicus Accipitridae CR
3 Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris Accipitridae CR
4 Red-headed Vulture Sarcogyps calvus Accipitridae CR
5 Pink-headed Duck Rhodonessa caryophyllacea Anatidae CR
6 White-bellied Heron Ardea insignis Ardeidae CR
7 Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius Charadriidae CR
8 Christmas Frigatebird Fregata andrewsi Fregatidae CR
9 Jerdon's Courser Rhinoptilus bitorquatus Glareolidae CR
10 Siberian Crane Grus leucogeranus Gruidae CR
11 Bengal Florican Houbaropsis bengalensis Otididae CR
12 Himalayan Quail Ophrysia superciliosa Phasianidae CR
13 Spoon-billed Sandpiper Eurynorhynchus pygmeus Scolopacidae CR
14 Forest Owlet Heteroglaux blewitti Strigidae CR

CR: Critically Endangered. Source - Ministry of Environment and Forests

Jayanthi Natarajan, the Indian Minister of Environments and Forests, added that several steps, such as including endangered birds in Schedule 1 of the Wild Life (Protection) Act of 1972 and providing stringent punishment to those found violating the act and the notification of important habitats as protected areas were being taken to protected endangered bird species in India.