Young Zoologist documents JK’s avian treasure

By Hashim Zakir, Zeeshan Ahad and Duwa Bisati

Parvaiz Yousef posing with his book [Photo: Zeeshan Ahad]


In the picturesque town of Pampore, a young researcher has emerged, driven by an unwavering passion for avian life. Parvaiz Yousuf, a 24-year-old Zoologist, recently achieved a significant milestone with the publication of his book, “Birds of Jammu & Kashmir,” exploring the region’s diverse avifauna.

Reflecting on his early years near the serene  Chatlam Wetland Reserve, Parvaiz recalls, “Since my childhood, the melodic chirping of migratory birds has resonated deeply within me, shaping my life’s trajectory towards their conservation.”

His journey into the realm of ornithology began with simple childhood observations, transforming routine walks into captivating expeditions marked by numerous discoveries. “I believe that one who tries never fails and a failure never tries at all,” says Parvez.

Having completed his M.Sc. in Zoology from the Central University of Kashmir in 2022, Parvaiz assumed the role of Director at the Wetland Research Centre for Wildlife Conservation Fund (WCF), dedicating himself to the study of migratory birds in wetlands.

Currently serving as a consultant and researcher for the Climatic Reality Project of India and South Asia, Parvaiz aspires to further his expertise by pursuing a Ph.D in Ornithology.  Recalling his extensive involvement with wildlife conservation, Parvaiz says, “Beyond my academic pursuits, I actively participated in several field trips, particularly in my beloved hometown of Pampore.” He also completed a notable Bird Watching course in Rajbagh, organized by the Ministry of Environment, India, in 2020, further deepening his understanding of avian life.

Abundance of species in Chatlam wetland [Source: Ramsar Survey]

Emphasizing the significance of avian tourism, Parvaiz highlights its potential growth in India, drawing parallels with the thriving industry in the United States. He expresses his motivation for writing the book, citing a significant demand during the previous year’s Bird Watching Festival organized by the J&K Tourism Department. This demand, coupled with the dearth of available literature, spurred Parvaiz to fill the gap and offer a comprehensive guide to local bird species.

Detailing the rigorous process of creating his book, Parvaiz explains, “Crafting the intricate details was the most arduous part of this journey, requiring meticulous research that revealed the hidden lives of these birds, especially the Cryptic Species with nuanced living qualities in their habitats.” Despite the challenges, he remained committed, spending a year conducting multiple research-based meet-ups and field travels to capture the essence of these avian treasures.

According to  official data from the J&K government, the region is home to approximately 500 bird species, including 32 endangered species, along with several unique endemic species like Sceptical Fidge, Kashmir Fly Cracker, and Kashmir Nut Cracker. Notably, the wetlands of Kashmir recently witnessed the rediscovery of rare species, including the Sivic duck, Long-tailed duck, Bar-rated Geese, and Tendra-Swan, marking significant sightings after decades.

Parvaiz’s relentless dedication stands as a beacon of inspiration, urging young researchers and nature enthusiasts to explore, learn, and protect the rich avian diversity of Jammu and Kashmir. Reflecting on his work, he says, “My book not only offers comprehensive data but also encapsulates the cultural wisdom that resonates deeply within our local communities.”



Survey of 2021 showing abundance of water birds in the wetlands of J&K.


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