The image has circulated online since at least 2016
A photo of hundreds of birds lying on the ground has been shared in social media posts that claim the creatures died of Covid-19 in India. The claim is false: the picture has been circulating online since at least 2016, years before India reported its first Covid-19 infection in 2020.
The image was shared on Facebook on May 9, 2021 post here. It has since been shared more than 300 shares.
“Look! The [Covid-19] pandemic in India has worsened to the extent that carcasses of birds are everywhere / Isn't it serious?!” the Chinese-language caption reads in part.
The image was also shared alongside the same claim here.
The posts circulated following a massive surge in Covid-19 cases in India in 2021, AFP reported here.
However, the claim is false. The image has circulated online since at least 2016, years before India reported its first Covid-19 infection in 2020.
A Google keyword search found the same image in this April 16, 2016 article by Indian news site The News Minute.
The article quotes Shravan Krishnan of Chennai Wildlife Rescuers explaining that the birds died after eating seeds contaminated by pesticides.
AFP was not able to verify the claim.
Below is a screenshot comparison between the Facebook image (L) and the picture published by The News Minute (R):
India reported its first Covid-19 case in January 2020.