AimIndian urban biodiversity is poorly studied. Black Kites are most numerous urban scavengers and are essential part of modern organic concept of living.Urbanization has made Milvus kites vulnerable in Europe. Development in Delhi has led to reduction in green cover while food availability is changing under new practices of solid waste management. We estimated Black Kite nest densities and population and monitored 150 nests distributed at increasing modernization
MethodsWe sampled Black Kite nests in eight selected study sites (each of 3 km2). Nest count was validated using double observer MARK RECAPTURE method. Kites in 360? panoramic shot from top of the dump were counted using software ImageJ. We used regurgitated pellets and prey remains to study their food habits. We monitored 150 nests at gap of 7 days from December 2012 to April 2013 and analysed the data to get cohort wise nesting success in Known Fate scheme of Programme MARK.
ResultsThe nest densities ranged from 4 to 67 nests/km2. Food index is partially correlated with Nest Density when controlled for green cover (r = 0.59, p = 0.07) while it was negatively correlated to green cover (r= - 0.56, p = 0.06).We found nesting success to be dependent on nest maturity. Nesting success probability through nesting, egg and chick cohorts was 0.60, 0.84 and 0.88 respectively. Overall probability of a nest to be successful was 0.44
ConservationBlack Kites are important scavengers areas after decline in vulture populations. Nesting densities of kites have reduced from 16 nests/km2 to 4 nests/km2 since 1970s. On the other hand they are over utilizing the green refugia in Old Delhi as nest density in Zoo increased from 2003 estimate. They provide ecological service by consuming garbage and serve as urban umbrella species being a top trophic organism.