Research Questions

Many thanks to those who contributed their questions. We are collating and curating them, and some results will be available soon.

Ornithology in India appears to be experiencing a mini boom, with more and more researchers taking up studies on birds, and an increasing number of birdwatchers and enthusiasts contributing to citizen science on birds.
Given that, after over 100 years of ornithological research in India, many basic and important questions still remain unanswered, this seems like an opportune moment to take stock and to examine what the most important research gaps are.

We invite you to participate in identifying the most important research questions in Indian ornithology. The idea is to model this effort roughly along the lines of the set of papers stimulated by Sutherland (Coleman et al. 2019; Cooke et al. 2021; Sutherland et al. 2006; Sutherland et al. 2013), which use consultative and collaborative approaches to compile lists of key questions contributed by the community.

How can you contribute?
Whether you are an ecology researcher, an ecology student, an environment policy maker or a nature enthusiast (birdwatcher, photographer, etc), we seek your input on the most important research questions that you feel need to be addressed in Indian ornithology.

What will happen next?
Your input will be collated and categorised into different topics, and will be prioritised to create a list of the most important questions in Indian ornithology. These will be published and made available for everyone to use. Please note that the questions will be kept anonymous; in other words no public output will have your name tagged to the questions. Your input will be acknowledged, however, so please ensure your name is spelt the way you would like it written in the acknowledgement.

What will this achieve?
We envision that this list of questions will:

  1. Provide a list of research priorities for individual and collaborative work
  2. Provide project ideas for Masters and PhD students, and researchers more broadly
  3. Provide a citable reference support of the importance of work, which might be useful for example, in funding proposals.

Farah Ishtiaq — Tata Institute for Genetics and Society (TIGS)
Manjari Jain — Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Mohali
Rajah Jayapal — Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON)
Suhel Quader — Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF)
Devica Ranade — Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF)


  1. Coleman, Joanna L., et al. Top 100 research questions for biodiversity conservation in Southeast Asia. Biological Conservation 234 (2019): 211-220.
  2. Cooke, Steven J., et al. One hundred research questions in conservation physiology for generating actionable evidence to inform conservation policy and practice. Conservation Physiology 9.1 (2021): coab009.
  3. Sutherland, William J., et al. The identification of 100 ecological questions of high policy relevance in the UK. Journal of applied ecology 43.4 (2006): 617-627.
  4. Sutherland, William J., et al. Identification of 100 fundamental ecological questions. Journal of ecology 101.1 (2013): 58-67.