In tropical biodiversity hotspots, with diverse biota and high endemism, there are several factors that affect existence of species. Habitat loss by deforestation, fragmentation and degradation by disturbance are some of the more commonly documented processes that affect species. In the unique Shola habitat on the sky islands of Western Ghats, we examine how different aspects affect the endemic bird species complex of Shortwings – White-bellied Shortwing and Rufous-bellied Shortwing. We describe here the patchiness and unique distribution pattern of these species, taxonomic ambiguity, genetic differences, effect of parasites across different populations of these species. We also highlight conservation action required in some key populations of these species.
Keywords: Shola forests, Western Ghats, shortwing, Brachypteryx, sky island, birds, india, patchiness, fragmentation, white-bellied shortwing, rufous-bellied shortwing, myiomela, robin, bird song, genetics, distribution, evolution, nesting, parasites, conservation