Sensitive Species Committee

© Samyukth Sridharan/Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab

In October 2017, eBird set up a system whereby species could be marked as sensitive , which means that the location uploaded by the birder is masked from eBird public output. Details on the criteria and on the list of sensitive species are provided here.

The Sensitive Species Committee (SSC) for India ensures that decisions for what makes a species ‘sensitive’ are are taken with due process and consideration. This committee consists of 5 members and will evaluate proposals to treat specific Indian bird species as sensitive, either for the country as a whole, or for particular States, and for particular times of the year. Sensitive species are those for which demonstrable harm could occur from the public display of site-level records, including (but not limited to): 1) targeted capture for the cage bird trade; 2) targeted hunting; 3) targeted disturbance of nests, roosts, or individual birds from birdwatchers or photographers. The SSC also evaluates requests for access to raw data of species marked as sensitive.

The Sensitive Species Committee for 2021-2024 consists of the following members (with their profiles given below):

  1. Ghazala Shahabuddin, Chairperson
  2. Neha Sinha
  3. Panchapakesan Jeganathan
  4. Rajah Jayapal
  5. Sutirtha Dutta

Sensitive Species Committee 2018-2021:

  1. Asad Rahmani, Chairperson
  2. Vivek Menon
  3. Dhananjai Mohan
  4. Ramki Sreenivasan
  5. Gopi Sundar


Dr Ghazala Shahabuddin obtained her PhD in ecology and conservation biology from Duke University, in which she studied the effects of forest fragmentation on diversity and dispersal of frugivorous forest butterflies in the islands of Lago Guri, Venezuela. Subsequently she has worked and published extensively on forest bird communities in the Aravallis of Rajasthan and sub-Himalayan sal forests in Uttarakhand, with the aim of understanding anthropogenic impacts at local and landscape scales. Since 2013, Ghazala has been studying decadal-scale vegetation dynamics and avifaunal diversity in multiple-use hardwood forests in Kumaon, with a focus on forest specialist birds such as woodpeckers. She has also worked on protected area governance, particularly conservation-induced displacement and role of science in conservation in India. She is currently a Visiting Professor to Ashoka University in the Environmental Sciences department.

Neha Sinha heads Conservation and Policy at the Bombay Natural History Society. She has served as Guest Faculty at Delhi University, teaching political ecology. She has also served as a member of the Central Zoo Authority’s Expert Committee on Research and Publications, the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication and an expert committee by Delhi government on reviving Najafgarh lake. She is consulting editor with Sanctuary Asia and The Wire. She is the author of Wild and Wilful (HarperCollins India, 2021) which focuses on 15 wild Indian species.

Dr Panchapakesan Jeganathan is a scientist at Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF), Mysore. His main interests are applied ecological aspects such as the conservation biology of endangered bird species, habitat monitoring, and on-ground conservation action. During his PhD he studied the critically endangered Jerdon’s Courser, and continues to do so. He is equally keen doing science outreach, mainly through writing in Tamil and training nature enthusiasts to write in regional languages through workshops. He has published field guides in Tamil on birds and odonates and writes extensively for various newspapers and magazines in Tamil on natural history and wildlife conservation. He is also involved in coordinating citizen science projects on birds. He is a Wikipedian and an avid birder.

Dr Rajah Jayapal graduated from Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun with a post-graduate degree in Wildlife Science. Before he went on to study macroecology of forest birds in Central Indian Highlands of Madhya Pradesh for his PhD from Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun, he was long associated with a couple of research projects at WII in which he surveyed birds of the Western Himalaya and high-altitude cold deserts of Ladakh in Jammu & Kashmir. After a brief stint with Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS-India), Bangalore as Conservation Scientist, he joined Ambedkar University, Delhi (AUD) as Assistant Professor. Soon after, he moved to SACON as a Principal Scientist in 2012. Dr. Jayapal is an inveterate birdwatcher with rich experience in teaching and research in Indian ornithology.

Dr Sutirtha Dutta is an applied ecologist. He studies the impacts of human activities on threatened species for their conservation management. His research focuses on population ecology, animal behavior, biodiversity surveys and risk assessments. He has studied bustards and associated fauna of India’s arid ecosystems for his PhD and subsequent work, spanning more than a decade. At present, he is a Scientist at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), and supervises the ongoing research, conservation and captive breeding efforts for the Great Indian Bustard and Lesser Florican – a joint initiative of the MoEFCC, Rajasthan Government and WII. He serves in various conservation committees such as the Hon’ble Supreme Court constituted committee for bustard conservation, his organization’s representative member for Rajasthan State Board of Wildlife, and the IUCN Bustard Specialist Group.