Sandeep's Nook: Index of Birds

Alphabetical Index of Birds of Kerala, India

A comprehensive list of birds I have captured on camera itemized under Family Names. Clicking the [+] besides the name would open up the details about that particular family under which will be listed the birds I have from that family in my photo collection. Clicking any bird name would open a new window to my Photostream at Flickr showing you the list of photos of that particular bird. Those birds whose sexes differ in appearance have separate links for Males and Females. Those birds whose plumage changes in the breeding season also have separate links. Also clicking the [+] links besides each bird name would open up a brief description(*) of each bird.

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  1. Avocets and Stilts [+]
    Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds, which includes the avocets and stilts. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills. There are 9 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India and Kerala.
    Order: Charadriiformes | Family: Recurvirostridae
    • Stilt, Black-winged [+] Scientific name: himantopus himantopus
      Size: 33 36 cms.
      General: They have long pink legs, a long thin black bill and are blackish above and white below, with a white head and neck with a varying amount of black. Males have a black back, often with greenish gloss. Females' backs have a brown hue, contrasting with the black remiges. In the populations that have the top of the head normally white at least in winter, females tend to have less black on head and neck all year round, while males often have much black, particularly in summer. This difference is not clear-cut, however, and males usually get all-white heads in winter. Immature birds are grey instead of black and have a markedly sandy hue on the wings, with light feather fringes appearing as a whitish line in flight. The breeding habitat of all these stilts is marshes, shallow lakes and ponds. Some populations are migratory and move to the ocean coasts in winter; those in warmer regions are generally resident or short-range vagrants. These birds pick up their food from sand or water. They mainly eat insects and crustaceans. The nest site is a bare spot on the ground near water. These birds often nest in small groups, sometimes with avocets.
      Range: Resident and migrant over most of the country.
      Diet: Aquatic insects, molluscs and vegetable matter.

  2. Barbets [+]
    The barbets are plump birds, with short necks and large heads. They get their name from the bristles which fringe their heavy bills. Most species are brightly coloured. There are 84 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in India.
    Order: Piciformes | Family: Megalaimidae
    • Barbet, Malabar [+] Scientific name: megalaima malabarica
      Size: 23 cms.
      General: The Malabar Barbet (megalaima malabarica) is a small barbet found in the Western Ghats of India. It was formerly treated as a race of the Crimson-fronted Barbet. This species can be told apart from the Coppersmith Barbet by the crimson face and throat. The call notes are more rapidly delivered than in the other species. The breeding season is mainly February-March prior to the rains. The nest hole is excavated on the underside of thin branches. The species feeds mainly on fruits but sometimes takes grubs, termites (flycatching at emerging swarms of alates), ants and small caterpillars. In Kerala, the fruiting trees were limited mainly to Ficus species. When feeding on small fruits, they tend to perch and peck rather than to swallow the fruit whole. In the non-breeding season, they join mixed-species foraging flocks.
      Range: Found in the Western Ghats.
      Diet: Mainly on fruits but sometimes takes grubs, termites, ants and small caterpillars.

    • Barbet, White-cheeked [+] Scientific name: megalaima viridis
      Size: 23 cms.
      General: The White-cheeked Barbet is pretty hard to detect due to its plumage that acts as perfect camouflage. A strictly arboreal, solitary bird but sometimes also seen in pairs or small parties. A very strong flier. Diet consists mostly of fruits that it tears open with its powerful beak. Has a white cheek stripe with grass-green plumage above and white breast streaked brown. Also known in India as the Small Green Barbet. They have a monotonous 'Kot-roo... Kotroo...' call which often changes to a single 'wut' note in hot afternoons. While foraging they can get pretty aggressive and attempt to chase off other frugivores. They play an important role in forests as seed dispersal agents. Their fruit eating makes them a nuisance in fruit orchards where often they leave behind half-eaten fruits.
      Range: Most of southern peninsular India.
      Diet: Mostly consists of fruits but also known to eat insects, small reptiles and flower nectar.

  3. Bee-eaters [+]
    The bee-eaters are a group of near passerine birds in the family Meropidae. Most species are found in Africa but others occur in southern Europe, Madagascar, Australia and New Guinea. They are characterised by richly coloured plumage, slender bodies and usually elongated central tail feathers. All are colourful and have long downturned bills and pointed wings, which give them a swallow-like appearance when seen from afar. There are 26 species worldwide and 6 species which occur in India.
    Order: Coraciiformes | Family: Meropidae
    • Bee-eater, Blue-Tailed [+] Scientific name: merops philippinus
      Size: 30 cms.
      General: Known for their elongated central tail feathers. Greenish above with a faint blue wash on wings; bluish rump, tail diagnostic; yellow upper throat patch with chestnut throat, upper breast; slightly curved black beak, broad black stripe through eyes. Often found in small flocks and perched on power lines from where they launch short flights to branches of nearby trees. Have a peculiar flight pattern where there are a few quick series of wing-beats and then a stately glide.
      Range: Most of India excepting Rajastan. More details not known.
      Diet: Mostly winged insects.

    • Bee-eater, Green [+] Scientific name: merops orientalis
      Size: 18 cms.
      General: The Green Bee-eater, Merops orientalis, (sometimes Little Green Bee-eater) is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family. Like other bee-eaters, this species is a richly coloured, slender bird. The sexes are not visually distinguishable. The entire plumage is bright green and tinged with blue especially on the chin and throat. The crown and upper back are tinged with golden rufous. The flight feathers are rufous washed with green and tipped with blackish. A fine black line runs in front of and behind the eye. The iris is crimson and the bill is black while the legs are dark grey. This is an abundant and fairly tame bird, familiar throughout its range. It is a bird which breeds in open country with bushes. Just as the name suggests, bee-eaters predominantly eat insects, especially bees, wasps and ants, which are caught in the air by sorties from an open perch. Before feeding, a bee-eater removes stings and breaks the exoskeleton of the prey by repeatedly hitting the insect on their perch.
      Range: Most of India excepting Rajastan. More details not known.
      Diet: Mostly bees, wasps and ants, which are caught in the air by sorties from an open perch.

  4. Bitterns, Herons and Egrets [+]
    The Ardeidae family contains the bitterns, herons and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted, unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills. There are 61 species worldwide and 21 species which occur in India.
    Order: Ciconiiformes | Family: Ardeidae
    • Egret, Cattle [+] Scientific name: bubulcus ibis
      Size: 50 cms.
      General: These birds are often seen around cattle eating insects disturbed by the animals and hence the name. White in colour except in the breeding season when it grows buffy orange plumes on its head, neck and back. Has yellow bills and black feet. It has a relatively short thick neck, sturdy bill, and a hunched posture. The Cattle Egret has undergone one of the most rapid and wide reaching natural expansions of any bird species due to its relationship with humans and their domesticated animals. The positioning of the egret's eyes allows for binocular vision during feeding. This species gives a quiet, throaty "rick-rack" call at the breeding colony, but is otherwise largely silent.
      Range: Most of India.
      Diet: Insects, frogs, lizards and also refuse.
    • Egret, Great [+] Scientific name: casmerodius albus
      Size: 90 cms.
      General: Lanky snow-white marsh bird; black and yellow (breeding) or yellow (non-breeding) beak and black legs. When breeding it has long, white plumes on the back. Often seen solitary and rarely more than three or four birds scattered over a marsh towering over other egrets. It wades in shallow water but often waits patiently for prey to come up close.
      Range: Not common but widespread over the country.
      Diet: Fish, frogs, aquatic insects, crustaceans.

    • Egret, Little [+] Scientific name: egretta garzetta
      Size: 65 cms.
      General: Slender and snow-white with black legs, yellow feet and black bill. In the breeding season it grows a nuchal crest of two long plumes and the feathers on the back and breast lengthen into ornamental filamentous feathers. Seen usually in small flocks feeding on the edge of river-banks. Sometimes wades into shallow water to stalk prey like the Herons do.
      Range: Most of India.
      Diet: Aquatic insects, frogs, lizards, small fish, tadpoles, crustaceans.

    • Egret, Intermediate [+] Scientific name: mesophoyx intermedia
      Size: 72 cms.
      General: All-white plumage, generally dark legs and a thickish yellow bill. Breeding birds may have a reddish or black bill, greenish yellow gape skin, loose filamentous plumes on their breast and back, and dull yellow or pink on their upper legs (regional variations). The sexes are similar. The intermediate egret stalks its prey methodically in shallow coastal or fresh water, including flooded fields. It eats fish, frogs, crustaceans and insects. It often nests in colonies with other herons, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. Two to five eggs are laid, the clutch size varying with region.
      Range: Most of India.
      Diet: Aquatic insects, frogs, lizards, small fish, tadpoles, crustaceans.

    • Egret, Western Reef [+] Scientific name: egretta gularis
      Size: 65 cms.
      General: Also called the Indian Reef Heron, this slender bird is found on the rocky western coast of India usually in the states of Maharastra and Gujarat and very rarely found in Kerala. It has two plumage colour forms, dark-grey and all-white. In the dark phase it has slaty-black plumage; white throat and upper foreneck. In the light phase it has an all white plumage very similar to the Little Egret. Distinguished by its more solitary nature and habitat. Intermediate morphs also occur. Its bill is brown and yellow or bright yellow and has plumes in the breeding season much like the Little Egret. Shy in nature and more active in twilight. Sometimes both phases are seen togther. Moves cautiously on rocky or sandy coast or mudflats and known to jab at prey and settles hunched-up on rocks or other protrusions.
      Range: Resident and local migrant; breeds off Gulf of Kutch, commoner on the west coast and rare on the eastern seaboard.
      Diet: Fish, insects, small crabs and mudskippers.
    • Heron, Black-crowned Night [+] Scientific name: nycticorax nycticorax
      Size: 60 cms.
      General: Adults are small but heavy, approximately 64 cm.. They have a black crown and back with the remainder of the body white or grey, red eyes, and short yellow legs. Young birds are brown, flecked with white and grey. These are short-necked and stout herons. Nocturnal; shy and reclusive; roosts in trees during the day and leave in small parties at dusk. Feeds through the night until early morning. These birds stand still at the water's edge and wait to ambush prey, mainly at night or early morning. They primarily eat small fish, crustaceans, frogs, aquatic insects, small mammals and small birds. During the day they rest in trees or bushes.
      Range: Resident most of India.
      Diet: Aquatic insects, frogs, lizards, small fish, tadpoles, crustaceans.

    • Heron, Grey [+] Scientific name: ardea cinerea
      Size: 100 cms.
      General: A long-legged, long-necked wading bird of the heron family Ardeidae. Ashy-grey above; white crown, neck, underparts; black stripe through eye continues as long black crest; black dotted band down centre of foreneck; dark blue-black night feathers; golden-yellow iris. It has a powerful, pinkish-yellow bill, which is brighter in breeding adults.Mostly solitary except when breeding; occasionally enters shallow waters; usually stands still, head pulled in between shoulders, waiting for prey to come close. Characteristic flight, head pulled back and long legs trailing. Often makes a loud quack in flight.
      Range: All over India to 4000m in Ladakh.
      Diet: Insects, frogs, small fish, tadpoles, crustaceans. Will also take small mammals, reptiles and occasionally walbler nestlings, plovers, young and adult snipes, takes ducklings and tern chicks and other small birds.
    • Heron, Indian Pond [+] Scientific name: ardeola grayii
      Size: 46 cms.
      General: The most common of the herons found in India. During the breeding season their heads and neck turn brown, chins and upper throat white, backs turn a rich maroon, breasts turn buff-brown and they grow a longish crest. Non-breeding colours are earthy-brown, streaked brown head and neck; grey-brown back and shoulders; with dull green legs; bill is bluish at the base, yellowish at the centre and black at the tip. Remains motionless in mud or up to ankles in water, or slowly stalks prey. Hunts alone but roosts in groups. Often seen in road-side ditches or tidal creeks and river-banks.
      Range: All over India.
      Diet: Insects, frogs, small fish, tadpoles, crustaceans.
    • Heron, Little [+] Scientific name: butorides striata
      Size: 45 cms.
      General: Adults have a blue-grey back and wings with a glossy green wash, white underparts, a black cap and short yellow legs. Juveniles are browner above and streaked below; longish crest. Also known as the Mangrove Heron or the Striated Heron. Solitary, shy and sluggish; mostly crepuscular. These birds stand still at the water's edge and wait to ambush prey. They sometimes use bait, dropping a feather or leaf carefully on the water surface and picking fish that come to investigate.
      Range: All India, south of the Himalayas.
      Diet: Eats small fish, frogs, crabs and aquatic insects.

    • Heron, Purple [+] Scientific name: ardea purpurea manilensis
      Size: 95 cms.
      General: It is somewhat smaller than the grey heron, from which it can be distinguished by its darker reddish-brown plumage, and, in adults, darker grey back. It has a narrower yellow bill, which is brighter in breeding adults. The most similarly-coloured heron is the Goliath heron, which is considerably larger. The purple heron breeds in colonies in reed beds or trees close to large lakes or other extensive wetlands. It builds a bulky stick nest. It feeds in shallow water, spearing fish, frogs, insects, spiders, small birds, rodents, salamanders, and snakes. It will often wait motionless for prey, or slowly stalk its victim. It tends to keep within reed beds more than the grey heron, and is often inconspicuous, despite its size. It has a slow flight, with its neck retracted. This is characteristic of herons and bitterns.
      Range: Most of India.
      Diet: Aquatic insects, frogs, lizards, spiders, small fish, small birds, rodents, salamanders, snakes.

  5. Bulbuls [+]
    Bulbuls are medium-sized songbirds. Some are colourful with yellow, red or orange vents, cheeks, throats or supercilia, but most are drab, with uniform olive-brown to black plumage. Some species have distinct crests. There are 130 species worldwide and 19 species which occur in India.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Pycnonotidae
    • Bulbul, Red-Vented [+] Scientific name: pycnonotus cafer
      Size: 20 cms.
      General: The Red-vented Bulbul is easily identified by its short crest giving the head a squarish appearance. The body is dark brown with a scaly pattern while the head is darker or black. The rump is white while the vent is red. The black tail is tipped in white. It is resident breeder across the Indian Subcontinent and has been introduced in many other parts of the world and has established itself in the wild on several Pacific islands. This is a bird of dry scrub, open forest, plains and cultivated lands.[5] In its native range it is rarely found in mature forests.
      Range: All India to about 1800m in the Himalayas.
      Diet: Insects, fruits, kitchen scraps and flower nectar.

    • Bulbul, Red-Whiskered [+] Scientific name: pycnonotus jocosus
      Size: 20 cms.
      General: The Red-Whiskered Bulbuls black prominent crest and red 'whiskers' behind its eyes are distinctive. White underbody with broken breast-collar and crimson-scarlet vent. They are friendly by nature and often seen in pairs or sometimes even in large parties. Red-whiskered Bulbul's often are seen in low bushes or on the ground looking for insects. Diet includes nectar and fruits also. Found in large stretches of South-West and North-East India. Brings joy to their surroundings with their sweet whistling notes. Sadly also considered as a popular cage-bird due to its tame and confiding nature.
      Range: From Garhwal east along the Himalayan foothills to about 1500m. Commonly found in south of the Satpura mountains in peninsular India.
      Diet: Mostly consists of insects, fruits and flower nectar.

    • Bulbul, White-browed [+] Scientific name: pycnonotus luteolus
      Size: 20 cms.
      General: Largely olive coloured above with whitish underparts, it has a pale supercilium and a yellow vent. They are found in dense scrub habitats, where they skulk within vegetation and can be difficult to see although their loud and distinct burst of calls is distinctive. The vent is yellowish and there is some yellow on the chin and moustache. The throat is however largely whitish unlike in the similar looking and sounding Yellow-throated Bulbul which is found in rockier habitats. This species is endemic to southern India and Sri Lanka. The northern boundary is along Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and western West Bengal. They forage within bushes for fruit, nectar and insects. The breeding season is spread out from March to September and may possibly breed twice a year.
      Range: Most of south India from Gujarat - W. Bengal southwards.
      Diet: Mostly consists of insects, fruits and flower nectar.

    • Bulbul, Yellow-browed [+] Scientific name: acritillas indica
      Size: 20 cms.
      General: This Bulbul is about 20 cm (7.9 in) long, lacks a crest and has the upperparts olive-green with a prominent yellow brow and goggle with the underparts being all yellow. The sexes do not differ in plumage. The bill is black and the iris is reddish brown. The population in the northern Western Ghats is paler yellow than the populations further south.
      Range: Western Ghats south of Pune, Kerala and portions of the Eastern Ghats.
      Diet: Mostly consists of forest berries, insects and fruits.

  6. Canary-Flycatchers [+]
    These are a family of small passerine birds proposed as a result of recent discoveries in molecular systematics. They are also referred to as stenostirid warblers.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Stenostiridae
    • Flycatcher, Grey-headed Canary [+] Scientific name: culicicapa ceylonensis
      Size: 13 cms.
      General: This is a species of small flycatcher-like bird found in tropical Asia. It has a square crest, a grey hood and yellow underparts. They are found in forested habitats where they often join other birds in mixed-species foraging flocks. Pairs are often seen as they forage for insects by making flycatcher-like sallies and will often emit a squeaky call. The Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher is an insectivore. Several subspecies are recognized. The nominate subspecies is found in Sri Lanka and the Western Ghats of southern India.
      Range: Commonly breeds in the Himalayan region but found in winter over much of the sub-continent.
      Diet: Insects.

  7. Chats and Flycatchers [+]
    Chats and Flycatchers are a large group of small passerine birds native to the Old World. They are mainly small arboreal insectivores. The appearance of these birds is highly varied, but they mostly have weak songs and harsh calls.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Muscicapidae
    • Bushchat, Pied [+] Scientific name: Saxicola caprata nilgiriensis
      Size: 13 cms.
      General: The Pied Bush Chat is slightly smaller than the Siberian Stonechat, although it has a similar dumpy structure and upright stance. The male is black except for a white rump, wing patch and lower belly. The iris is dark brown, the bill and legs black. The female is drab brown and slightly streaked. Juveniles have a scaly appearance on the underside but dark above like the females. This species is insectivorous, and like other chats hunts from a prominent low perch. It is a familiar bird of countryside and open scrub or grassland where it is found perched at the top of short thorn trees or other shrubs, looking out for insect prey. They pick up insects mainly from the ground.
      Range: All India, from outer Himalaya to about 1500m.
      Diet: Insects.
    • Flycatcher, Brown-breasted [+] Scientific name: muscicapa muttui
      Size: 13-14 cms.
      General: The overall colour of the upper parts is olive brown. Some of the feather shafts are darker. The upper tail coverts are brighter rufous as are the edges of the flight feathers. The tail feathers have rufous on the outer webs. The lores are pale and the eye ring is conspicuous. The chin and throat are white while the breast and sides of the body are pale brown. The middle of the body to the vent is buffy white. Submoustachial stripes are faint but mark the boundary of the pale chin while the legs and lower mandible are pale flesh coloured. Not a shy bird and it does not mind being approached which makes it a great subject for photographers.
      Range: Breeds in North East India and adjoining areas and migrates to western coastal India during the non-breeding, winter season.
      Diet: Insects.

    • Flycatcher, Nilgiri [+] Scientific name: eumyias albicaudatus
      Size: 13 cms.
      General: It is dark steely indigo blue with some violet-blue on the forehead and darker lores. It is much darker than the Verditer Flycatcher and does not have as strong a contrast in the pale face and black lores. The female is duller with dark brown on the upperparts and dark grey below. The two central tail feathers are blue and the lateral feathers are dark brown and edged with indigo. The base of the outer tail feathers are white but this is not easily visible when the bird is sitting. The wing feathers are dark brown with a narrow outer fringe of blue. The juvenile is dark brown with creamy spots and a scaly appearance on the throat and breast. The bill and legs are black and the iris is dark brown. It is found in a very restricted range in the higher hills (mostly above 1200 m) of the Nilgiris, Palnis, Anamalai ranges, the Brahmagiris, Bababudan and Biligirrangan hills. It is a Near Threatened species. Like most flycatchers, it makes sallies to capture insects and returns to its perch. It forages mainly in the lower storey but can sometimes be found on top of the canopy.
      Range: Restricted range in the higher hills (mostly above 1200 m) of the Nilgiris, Palnis, Anamalai ranges, the Brahmagiris, Bababudan and Biligirrangan hills.
      Diet: Insects.

    • Robin, Indian [+] Scientific name: saxicoloides fulicata
      Size: 16 cms.
      General: There are several races in India. Males differ in having a dark-brown upperbody, and have a white wing-patch and are blue-black below. They have a chestnut vent and undertail. Females lack the white in the wings and are duller grey-brown below. They are seen solitary or in pairs in open country, and often in and around habitation. They are suspicious by nature and generally keep their distance from humans. They hunt on the ground, hopping or running in short spurts. They hold their heads high and often cock their tails, right up to back, flashing the chestnut vent and undertail.
      Range: Most of India except in the extreme NE.
      Diet: Food consists of insects.
    • Robin, Oriental Magpie [+] Scientific name: copsychus saularis
      Size: 20 cms.
      General: Males are glossy blue-black and white; white wing patch and white in outer-tail distinctive; glossy blue-black throat, breast; white below. Females are rich slatey grey where males are blue-black. Commonly found in India and seen alone or in pairs or with other birds in mixed parties. Hops on the ground and often seen with its tail cocked. Active in the mornings or at dusk and is a remarkable songster.
      Range: Most of India except some arid regions of W Rajastan.
      Diet: Food consists of insects, berries and nectar.
    • Shama, White-rumped [+] Scientific name: copsychus malabaricus
      Size: 26 cms.
      General: A small passerine bird of the family Muscicapidae. Native to densely vegetated habitats in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, its popularity as a cage-bird and songster has led to it being introduced elsewhere. Males are glossy black with a chestnut belly and white feathers on the rump and outer tail. Females are more greyish-brown, and are typically shorter than males. Both sexes have a black bill and pink feet. Juveniles have a greyish-brown colouration, similar to that of the females, with a blotchy or spotted chest. They feed on insects in the wild but in captivity they may be fed on a diet of boiled, dried legumes with egg yolk and raw meat.
      Range: Seen over most of India.
      Diet: Insects.

    • Thrush, Malabar Whistling [+] Scientific name: myophonus horsfieldii
      Size: 25 cms.
      General: It has a blue-black plumage with the blue more prominent on the wings and forehead where there is a arrow-like blue marking. It is a solitary bird that has a peculiar gait. Often seen in culverts and garbage dumps looking for grubs. This bird is a renowned vocalist having a beautiful, almost human, whistling call. No wonder it is often also called the "whistling schoolboy". It also has a rather harsh, high-pitched call. In winter folks are often woken up early in the mornings before day-break by this birds sweet whistling which is a pleasure to listen to.
      Range: Hills of W India and parts of Satpuras.
      Diet: Insects, crustaceans, snails, frogs, berries.

  8. Cisticolas and allies [+]
    The Cisticolidae are warblers found mainly in warmer southern regions of the Old World. They are generally very small birds of drab brown or grey appearance found in open country such as grassland or scrub.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Cisticolidae
    • Prinia, Ashy [+] Scientific name: prinia socialis
      Size: 13 cms.
      General: These 13 14 cm long warblers have short rounded wings and a longish graduated cream tail tipped with black subterminal spots. The tail is usually held upright and the strong legs are used for clambering about and hopping on the ground. They have a short black bill. The crown is grey and the underparts are rufous in most plumages. In breeding plumage, adults of the northern population are ash grey above, with a black crown and cheek with no supercilium and coppery brown wings. In non-breeding season, this population has a short and narrow white supercilium and the tail is longer.
      Range: All India south of Himalayan foothills India, but absent in W. Rajasthan.
      Diet: Insects and flower necter.

    • Prinia, Plain [+] Scientific name: prinia inornata
      Size: 13 cms.
      General: These warblers have short rounded wings, a longish tail, strong legs and a short black bill. In breeding plumage, adults are grey-brown above, with a short white supercilium and rufous fringes on the closed wings. Underparts are whitish-buff. The sexes are identical. In winter, the upperparts are a warmer brown, and the underparts more buff. The tail is longer than in summer. There are a number of races differing in plumage shade. Like most warblers, the Plain Prinia is insectivorous. The song is a repetitive tlee-tlee-tlee and also a krrik...krrik sound. This passerine bird is typically found in wet lowland grassland, open woodland, scrub and sometimes gardens. Often seen in pairs or even small groups moving about in low growth. They have a jerky, low flight and are difficult to spot in the bush. The Plain Prinia builds its nest in a shrub or tall grass and lays 3-6 eggs.
      Range: Seen over most of India.
      Diet: Insects and flower necter.

    • Tailorbird, Common [+] Scientific name: orthotomus sutorius
      Size: 13 cms.
      General: They have olive-green plumage above; rust-red forecrown; buffy-white underbody; long pointed tail often held cocked. Central tail feathers stand about 5 cms. longer and pointed in breeding males. Hard to detect but for their loud tuweet tuweet cry. Often seen in gardens and not too shy of humans. Very active like most small birds and hop from one branch to another quickly.
      Range: All India.
      Diet: Nectar and insects.

  9. Cormorants [+]
    Phalacrocoracidae is a family of medium to large coastal, fish-eating seabirds that includes cormorants and shags. Plumage colouration varies, with the majority having mainly dark plumage, some species being black-and-white and a few being colourful. There are 38 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in India.
    Order: Pelecaniformes | Family: Phalacrocoracidae
    • Cormorant, Great [+] Scientific name: phalacrocorax carbo
      Size: 80 cms.
      General: In the breeding season these birds have black plumage with metallic blue-green sheen; white facial skin, throat; bright yellow gular pouch and white thigh patches; silky white plumes on head and neck. In the nn-breeding season the white thigh patches are not seen and the gular pouch is less bright. The Great Cormorant is also known as the Great Black Cormorant across the Northern Hemisphere, the Black Cormorant in Australia and the Black Shag further south in New Zealand. This is a very common and widespread bird species. It feeds on the sea, in estuaries, and on freshwater lakes and rivers. The Great Cormorant can dive to considerable depths, but often feeds in shallow water. It frequently brings prey to the surface. A wide variety of fish are taken: cormorants are often noticed eating eels, but this may reflect the considerable time taken to subdue an eel and position it for swallowing,
      Range: Resident in most of India south of the Himalayas.
      Diet: Mostly fish.
    • Cormorant, Indian [+] Scientific name: phalacrocorax fuscicollis
      Size: 65 cms.
      General: This is a common and widespread bird species, which breeds in freshwater wetlands. It is a smallish, slender, cormorant with a triangular head profile. Indian Cormorant is mainly black in the breeding season, with white neck plumes and a whitish throat. The wing coverts are silvery and it has a longish tail. This species can be separated from the similar looking Little Cormorant (Phalacrocorax niger) by its slender bill, more peaked appearance to its head, blue eyes and lack of the glossy black plumage of the smaller bird. It is also more gregarious and is often found in larger bodies of water and rivers where communal hunting appears like a stampede. Sexes are similar, but non-breeding adults and juveniles are browner and lack the neck plumes. The Indian Cormorant can dive to considerable depths, but usually feeds in shallow water. It frequently brings prey to the surface. A wide variety of fish are taken.
      Range: Most of India south of the Himalayas.
      Diet: Mostly fish.
    • Cormorant, Little [+] Scientific name: phalacrocorax niger
      Size: 50 cms.
      General: The commonest and smallest Cormorant. Their short, thick necks and head are distinctive. Breeding adults have blackish-blue sheen; silky white feathers on fore crown and sides of head; silvery-grey wash on upper back and wing coverts, speckled with black. Their non-breeding plumage consists of a white chin and upper throat. They are gregarious by nature and swim with only head and neck exposed. They often dive not to be seen for many seconds, popping up far from where they dived. Consummate swimmers as can be judged by their webbed feet. They are often seen perched on poles, trees or rocks with their wings spread open to dry.
      Range: Most of India south of the Himalayas.
      Diet: Mostly fish, but also tadpoles and crustaceans.
  10. Crows, Jays, Ravens and Magpies [+]
    The Corvidae family includes crows, ravens, jays, choughs, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers and ground jays. Corvids are above average in size among the Passeriformes, and some of the larger species show high levels of intelligence. There are 120 species worldwide and 22 species which occur in India.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Corvidae
    • Crow, House [+] Scientific name: corvus splendens
      Size: 43 cms.
      General: Black plumage; grey collar, upper back and breast; glossy black on forehead, crown and throat. Found mostly closer to human habitation and considered as commensal on man. Street-smart, swift, sociable and sinister, these birds are omnivorous and performs important scavenging services and are in part responsible for keeping our cities and towns clean.
      Range: Most of India except some remote regions of west Rajastan.
      Diet: Omnivorous.

    • Crow, Jungle (Large-billed) [+] Scientific name: corvus macrorhynchos
      Size: 48 cms.
      General: Large beak and glossy plumage distinctive, the jungle crow is commoner in rural areas unlike the House Crow that is considered an urban bird. Also not considered as smart as the House Crow. Omnivorous birds found over most of India often seen in pairs or small groups. Its presence and loud cries often indicates the presence of carnivore kills.
      Range: Most of India except some regions of west Rajastan and Punjab.
      Diet: Omnivorous.

    • Treepie, Indian Rufous [+] Scientific name: dendrocitta vagabunda
      Size: 50 cms.
      General: Rufous above; sooty grey-brown head, neck; black, white and grey on wings; black-tipped grey tail long and graduated. Seen solitary or pairs and often in company of other birds. Often found feeding in low bushes and also on high branches. They are bold and noisy birds of the crow family.
      Range: Almost all India.
      Diet: Insects, lizards, small birds, eggs, fruit, nectar and kitchen scraps.

  11. Cuckoos [+]
    The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails and strong legs. Many are brood parasites. There are 138 species worldwide and 21 species which occur in India.
    Order: Cuculiformes | Family: Cuculidae
    • Coucal, Greater (Crow-Pheasant) [+] Scientific name: centropus sinensis
      Size: 50 cms.
      General: A biggish bird, the Greater Coucal is mainly a loner but often seen in pairs. A poor flier commonly seen in low bushes. Common to see them with snakes or large lizards in their beaks flying off looking for a good place to snack. Famous for their loud distinctive 'coop......... cooop' call. These birds are often only heard. Females are slightly bigger than males. Has glossy bluish-black plumage; chestnut wings; blackish long graduated tail; crimson eyes.
      Range: Most of India except for few areas of west Rajastan.
      Diet: Mostly consists of insects, lizards, frogs, eggs and small of other bird species, small snakes.

    • Cuckoo, Banded Bay [+] Scientific name: cacomantis sonneratii
      Size: 24 cms.
      General: The adults are bright rufous or bay on the head and back and are broadly barred with dark brown. The bill is long and slightly curved. A whitish supercilium is distinctive above a dark eye-line. The wing is darker and tail is graduated with a dark brown centre. The tail has a subterminal black band and white tips to the feathers. The sexes are alike. They are found in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Like others in the genus they have a round nostril. They are usually founded in well wooded areas mainly in the lower hills. Males sing from exposed branches during the breeding season, which can vary with region.
      Range: Central India running down the Western Ghats.
      Diet: Insects.

    • Cuckoo, Chestnut-Winged [+] Scientific name: clamator coromandus
      Size: 47 cms.
      General: The Chestnut-winged Cuckoo is a breeding resident in the Himalayas and north-east India. It winters in Southern India and Sri Lanka. Otherwise very little is known of this bird.
      Range: Northeast India, East and Southeast Asia and migrates down to the southernmost parts of the Indian peninsula.
      Diet: Insects and nectar.

    • Cuckoo, Grey-Bellied [+] Scientific name: cacomantis passerinus
      Size: 23 cm.
      General: Adults are mainly grey with a white lower belly and undertail. There is a white patch on the wings. Some females are dark-barred reddish brown above with an unbarred tail and have strongly dark-barred whitish underparts. The juvenile resembles the female but is of a duller grey.
      Range: Tropical southern Asia from India and Sri Lanka to south China and Indonesia.
      Diet: Insects and fruits.

    • Cuckoo, Indian [+] Scientific name: cuculus micropterus
      Size: 32 cms.
      General: This is a medium sized cuckoo with both sexes alike. It has grey upperparts while the underside has broad black barring. The tail is barred with a broad subterminal dark band and a white tip. Young birds have white markings on the crown and white chin and throat contrasting with a dark face. Juveniles are browner and have broad white tips to the head and wing feathers. The eye-ring is gray to yellow. The iris is light brown to reddish. The female differs from the male in being slightly paler grey on the throat and in having more brown on the breast and tail. The barring on the belly is narrower than in the male. Nestlings have an orange-red mouth and yellow flanges to the gape. They feed on hairy caterpillars and other insects but sometimes take fruits. They usually feed on the upper canopy, gleaning insects, sometimes making aerial sallies for flying termites or rarely even by hovering lower near the ground. The Indian Cuckoo is a brood parasite. It lays its single egg mostly in the nests of drongos and crows. It removes and eats an egg from the host nest before laying its own.
      Range: Most of India south of the Himalayas except the dry and arid parts of NW India. Moves considerably especially before and after the rains.
      Diet: Insects, fruits, and hairy caterpillars.

    • Cuckoo, Forked-tailed Drongo [+] Scientific name: surniculus dicruroides
      Size: 25 cms.
      General: This is a species of cuckoo that resembles a Black Drongo. It can be easily distinguished by its straight beak, white in base of outer tail feathers and the white barred vent. Also has white marks on the thigh feathers. Very distinctive calls. Young birds are dull in colour and speckled white. Found solitary and often mistaken for drongos, but cuckoo-like flight is a giveaway. Strictly arboreal in nature. It is a brood parasite on small babblers. It is not known how or whether the drongo-like appearance benefits this species but it suspected that it aids in brood-parasitism.
      Range: Resident mainly in peninsular India but some found in Himalayan foothills.
      Diet: Insects, wild fruits, worms and caterpillars.

    • Cuckoo, Pied [+] Scientific name: clamator jacobinus jacobinus
      Size: 33 cms.
      General: This is a medium-sized, slim black and white cuckoo with a crest that is distinctive. The white wing patch on the black wing and the pattern make it unmistakable even in flight. They are very vocal during the breeding season. In India the subspecies Serratusis a summer breeding visitor to northern India and is believed to migrate to southern Africa. This is larger and longer winged than the nominate subspecies found in the southern peninsular region and Sri Lanka is said to be a local migrant. In the breeding season, birds call from prominent perches and chase each other with slow wing-beats and pigeon like clapping flight.
      Range: Chiefly SW Monsoon breeding visitor; most of the country south of outer Himalaya.
      Diet: Insects, including hairy, noxious caterpillars.

    • Koel, Asian [+] Scientific name: eudynamys scolopacea
      Size: 42 cms.
      General: The male with its black plumage and sinister crimson eyes is a common sight all over the country. Females are distinguished by their thickly spotted dark-brown and barred white plumage. Solitary or seen in pairs, arboreal and has a fast flight. Familiar call of kuoo..... kuooo..... heard all over the country. Gets noisy between March and June coinciding with the breeding of crows.
      Range: All over India but uncommon in drier areas.
      Diet: Fruits, insects, snails and eggs of smaller birds.
  12. Darters [+]
    Darters are often called "snake-birds" because of their long thin neck, which gives a snake-like appearance when they swim with their bodies submerged. The males have black and dark-brown plumage, an erectile crest on the nape and a larger bill than the female. The females have much paler plumage especially on the neck and underparts. The darters have completely webbed feet and their legs are short and set far back on the body. Their plumage is somewhat permeable, like that of cormorants, and they spread their wings to dry after diving. There are 4 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India.
    Order: Pelecaniformes | Family: Anhingidae
    • Oriental Darter [+] Scientific name: anhinga melanogaster
      Size: 90 cms.
      General: These birds have a long snake-like neck, pointed bill and stiff fan-shaped tail. They are black above, streaked and mottled with silvery-grey on back and wings; choco-brown head, neck; white stripe down sides of upper neck; white chin, upper throat; entirely black below. They are also called snakebirds and are mainly tropical waterbirds in the family Anhingidae. The ones found in the Indian sub-continent are also called the Oriental Darter or Indian Darter. It often swims with only the neck above water. It is a fish-eater. It chases prey under water with wings half open, spearing fish with sudden rapier-like thrusts. It tosses the fish caught into the air to swallow them head-first. They are often found basking on tree stumps and rocks very much like cormorants.
      Range: All India south of the Himalayan foothills.
      Diet: Fish.

  13. Drongos [+]
    The drongos are mostly black or dark grey in colour, sometimes with metallic tints. They have long forked tails, and some Asian species have elaborate tail decorations. They have short legs and sit very upright when perched, like a shrike. They flycatch or take prey from the ground. There are 24 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in India.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Dicruridae
    • Drongo, Ashy [+] Scientific name: dicrurus leucophaeus
      Size: 30 cms.
      General: Like the Black Drongo in appearance except the plumage is greyish-black. Breeds in the Himalayas and a winter visitor to the peninsula. Vocal bird who flies in short sallies often dropping to the ground looking for prey. They have very deeply forked tails compared to other Drongos.
      Range: Breeding in the Himalayas and a winter visitor to the peninsula.
      Diet: Mostly insects and also sometimes flower nectar.

    • Drongo, Black [+] Scientific name: dicrurus macrocercus
      Size: 32 cms.
      General: Seen over most of India. Vocal bird who flies in short sallies often dropping to the ground looking for prey. They have very deeply forked tails compared to other Drongos. Have a glossy black plumage.
      Range: Most of India except some regions of west Rajastan and Punjab.
      Diet: Mostly insects and also sometimes flower nectar.

    • Drongo, Bronzed [+] Scientific name: dicrurus aeneus
      Size: 24 cms.
      General: The Bronzed Drongo is often mistaken for the Black Drongo that is slimmer and longer. The Bronzed Drongo has glossier plumage and a shorter tail that is shallowly forked. The Bronzed Drongos feathers on the head stand up giving a spiked look unlike the Black Drongo. Found often in groups flying wildly from one tree to another or one branch to another. Found in southern India and like most Drongos is aggressive and fearless and known to attack much larger birds if they are threatened.
      Range: Most of peninsular India.
      Diet: Mostly insects and also sometimes flower nectar.

    • Drongo, Greater Racket-tailed [+] Scientific name: dicrurus paradiseus
      Size: 60 cms.
      General: Has a glossy blue-black plumage and a prominent crest that curves backwards. Named after its wire-like tail extensions. Seen alone or in pairs. Arboreal but not strictly so as it oftens decends to small bushes. A confirmed exhibitionist that noisily announces its presence often mimicing cats meows or the calls of other birds. A very bold and aggressive bird that is known to take on much larger birds.
      Range: Western and central India and north up to the Himalayan foothills and the whole eastern region.
      Diet: Mostly insects, also small lizards and flower nectar.

  14. Fantails [+]
    The fantails are small insectivorous birds which are specialist aerial feeders. There are 44 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in India.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Rhipiduridae
    • Fantail, White-spotted [+] Scientific name: rhipidura albogularis
      Size: 19 cms.
      General: It has a dark fan-shaped tail, edged in white, and white supercilium and throat. Birds are mainly slate grey above, with a black eye mask, and a white throat and eyebrow. It has whitish underparts, and a grey breast band that is spotted white.
      Range: Scrub and cultivation in southern and central India.
      Diet: Insects.

  15. Flamingos [+]
    Flamingos are gregarious wading birds, usually 3 to 5 feet (0.9 to 1.5 m) tall, found in both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. Flamingos filter-feed on shellfish and algae. Their oddly shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they consume and, uniquely, are used upside-down. There are 6 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India. Order: Phoenicopteriformes | Family: Phoenicopteridae
    • Flamingo, Greater [+] Scientific name: phoenicopterus roseus
      Size: 110-150 cms.
      General: This is the largest species of flamingo. Most of the plumage is pinkish-white, but the wing coverts are red and the primary and secondary flight feathers are black. The bill is pink with a restricted black tip, and the legs are entirely pink. The call is a goose-like honking. Sub-adult flamingos are whitish-grey and only attain the pink coloration several years into their adult life. The coloration comes from the carotenoid pigments in the organisms that live in their feeding grounds. The bird resides in mudflats and shallow coastal lagoons with salt water. Using its feet, the bird stirs up the mud, then sucks water through its bill and filters out small shrimp, seeds, blue-green algae, microscopic organisms and mollusks.
      Range: Resident; local migrant; breeds in Great Rann of Kurch; sporadically seen all over the country.
      Diet: Small shrimp, seeds, blue-green algae, microscopic organisms and mollusks.

  16. Flowerpeckers [+]
    The flowerpeckers are very small, stout, often brightly coloured birds, with short tails, short thick curved bills and tubular tongues. Order: Passeriformes | Family: Dicaeidae
    • Flowerpecker, Pale-billed [+] Scientific name: dicaeum erythrorhynchos
      Size: 8 cms.
      General: The bird is plain brownish to olive green. The underside is buff olive and does not contrast greatly with the upperparts. This is a tiny bird, 8 cm long, and is one of the smallest birds occurring in most parts of southern India and Sri Lanka. It has been considered one of the early flowerpeckers, originating in the Malay Peninsula, to colonize the Indian Subcontinent.
      Range: Most of central and sounth India up from Bengal to the Himalayan range.
      Diet: Fruits, berries and nectar of flowers.

  17. Geese, Swans and Ducks [+]
    The Anatidae are the biological family of birds that includes ducks, geese, and swans. The family has a cosmopolitan distribution, occurring on all the world's continents. These birds are adapted for swimming, floating on the water surface, and in some cases diving in at least shallow water.
    Order: Anseriformes | Family: Anatidae
      • Duck, Lesser Whistling [+] Scientific name: dendrocygna javanica
        Size: 42 cms.
        General: This chestnut brown duck is confusable only with the Fulvous Whistling Duck but has chestnut upper-tail coverts unlike the creamy white in the latter. The ring around the eye is orange to yellow. When flying straight, their head is held below the level of the body as in other Dendrocygna species. The crown appears dark and the sexes are alike in plumage. They fly slowly but with rapid wing-flapping and usually produce a repetitive wheezy seasick call as they circle overhead. This is a largely resident species distributed widely across lowland wetlands of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Lesser whistling duck are usually gregarious. They feed mainly on plants taken from the water as well as grains from cultivated rice apart from small fish, frogs and invertebrates such as molluscs and worms.
        Range: Resident, but moves locally; all India south of Himalayas.
        Diet: Tender shoots, grains, seeds, aquatic weeds, small fish, worms, frogs.

      • Duck, Spot-billed [+] Scientific name: anas poecilorhyncha
        Size: 60 cms.
        General: This duck is around the same size as a mallard and has a scaly patterned body with a green speculum and a band of white tertials that is prominent in flight. At rest the white stripe stands out and the long neck and the bill with yellow tip and orange red spots at the base are distinctive in the nominate subspecies. These are mainly grey ducks with a paler head and neck and a black bill tipped bright yellow. The wings are whitish with black flight feathers below, and from above show a white-bordered green The male has a red spot on the base of the bill, which is absent or inconspicuous in the smaller but otherwise similar female. Juveniles are browner and duller than adults. The legs and feet are bright orange. Both males and females undergo a complete postnuptial moult, dropping all their wing feathers simultaneously.
        Range: Resident, all India; local migrant in some areas.
        Diet: Wild grain, seeds, shoots of aquatic plants, Water insects, worms, water-snails.

      • Garganey [+] Scientific name: spatula querquedula
        Size: 37 41 cms.
        General: The adult male is unmistakable, with its brown head and breast with a broad white crescent over the eye. The rest of the plumage is grey, with loose grey scapular feathers It has a grey bill and legs. In flight it shows a pale blue speculum with a white border. When swimming it will show prominent white edges on its tertials. His crown (anatomy) is dark and face is reddish brown. Females have pale eyebrow, dark eye line, pale lore spot bordered by a second dark line.
        Range: Almost all of central and south India.
        Diet: Aquatic invertebrates, such as crustaceans, insects and their larvae, mollusks and worms. In winter, it shifts to a largely granivorous diet, feeding on seeds of aquatic plants and grasses, including sedges and grains.

      • Goose, Cotton Pygmy [+] Scientific name: nettapus coromandelianus
        Size: 32 cms.
        General: Small individuals of this species are the smallest waterfowl on earth. White predominates in this bird's plumage. Bill short, deep at base, and goose-like. Male in breeding plumage is glossy blackish green crown, with white head, neck, and underparts; a prominent black collar and white wing-bar. Rounded head and short legs. In flight, the wings are green with a white band, making the male conspicuous. Female paler, without either black collar and only a narrow or nonexistent strip of white wing-bar. In non-breeding plumage (eclipse) male resembles female except for his white wing-bar. Found on all still freshwater lakes (jheels), rain-filled ditches, inundated paddy fields, irrigation tanks, etc. Becomes very tame on village tanks wherever it is unmolested and has become inured to human proximity.
        Range: Almost all India; not common, absent over arid regions.
        Diet: Wild grain, seeds, shoots of aquatic plants, water insects, worms, crustacea.

      • Mallard [+] Scientific name: anas platyrhynchos
        Size: 60 cms.
        General: The Mallard is about 60 cm. long. The breeding male is unmistakable, with a bright bottle-green head, black rear end and a yellowish orange (can also contain some red) bill tipped with black (as opposed to the black/orange bill in females). It has a white collar which demarcates the head from the purple-tinged brown breast, grey brown wings, and a pale grey belly. The dark tail has white borders. The female Mallard is a mottled light brown, like most female dabbling ducks, and has buff cheeks, eyebrow, throat and neck with a darker crown and eye-stripe. However, both the female and male Mallards have distinct purple speculum edged with white, prominent in flight or at rest (though temporarily shed during the annual summer moult). The Mallard is the ancestor of most domestic ducks, and can interbreed with other species of genus Anas. Among close relatives of the Mallard this hybridisation can cause genetic dilution, which is contributing the decline of rarer species of ducks. The Mallard is omnivorous and very flexible in its food choice. Its diet may vary based on several factors, including the stage of the breeding cycle, short term variations in available food, nutrient availability, and inter- and intraspecific competition.
        Range: Visitor in N and C India; rare in Deccan and further south.
        Diet: Gastropods, invertebrates, crustaceans, worms, many varieties of seeds and plant matter, and roots and tubers.

      • Pintail, Northern [+] Scientific name: anas acuta
        Size: Male about 50 to 76 cm.; female about 51 to 64 cm.
        General: The Northern Pintail is a fairly large duck with a wingspan of 23.6-28.2 centimetres. The male in breeding plumage has a chocolate-brown head and white breast with a white stripe extending up the side of the neck. Its upperparts and sides are grey, but elongated grey feathers with black central stripes are draped across the back from the shoulder area. The vent area is yellow, contrasting with the black underside of the tail, which has the central feathers elongated to as much as 10 centimetres (4 in). The bill is bluish and the legs are blue-grey. The adult female is mainly scalloped and mottled in light brown with a more uniformly grey-brown head, and its pointed tail is shorter than the male s; it is still easily identified by its shape, long neck, and long grey bill. In non-breeding (eclipse) plumage, the drake Pintail looks similar to the female, but retains the male upperwing pattern and long grey shoulder feathers. Juvenile birds resemble the female. The Northern Pintail has been called the "nomads of the skies". due to their wide-ranging migrations. It is strongly migratory and winters south of its breeding range to the equator. The Northern Pintail is a bird of open wetlands which nests on the ground, often some distance from water. It feeds by dabbling for plant food and adds small invertebrates to its diet during the nesting season. It is highly gregarious when not breeding, forming large mixed flocks with other species of duck.
        Range: Winter visitor; all India.
        Diet: Shoots, seeds of aquatic plants, rice (wild and cultivated); also water insects and molluscs.

  18. Grebes [+]
    Grebes are small to medium-large freshwater diving birds. In fact they are India's smallest waterbirds, squat and tailless. They have lobed toes and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, they have their feet placed far back on the body, making them quite ungainly on land. There are 20 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in India and only one in Kerala.
    Order: Podicipediformes | Family: Podicipedidae
      • Grebe, Little [+] Scientific name: tachybaptus ruficollis capensis
        Size: 22 cms.
        General: This is a small water bird with a pointed bill. Sexes are alike. The adult is unmistakable in breeding plumage which is predominantly dark above with its rich, rufous colour neck, cheeks and flanks, and bright yellow gape. The rufous is replaced by a dirty brownish grey in non-breeding and juvenile birds. Juvenile birds have a yellow bill with a small black tip, and black and white streaks on the cheeks and sides of the neck as seen below. This yellow bill darkens as the juveniles age, eventually turning black in adulthood. In winter, its size, buff plumage, with a darker back and cap, and powder puff rear end enable easy identification of this species.
        Range: All India, to 2000m in Kashmir, resident in most areas.
        Diet: Aquatic insects, frogs, crustacea.

  19. Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers [+]
    Laridae is a family of both gulls and terns. Gulls are medium to large seabirds including kittiwakes. They are typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. Terns are a group of generally medium to large seabirds typically with grey or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. Most terns hunt fish by diving but some pick insects off the surface of fresh water. Terns are generally long-lived birds, with several species known to live in excess of 30 years
    Order: Charadriiformes | Family: Laridae
    • Gull, Black-headed [+] Scientific name: chroicocephalus ridibundus
      Size: 37 44 cms.
      General: In flight, the white leading edge to the wing is a good field mark. The summer adult has a chocolate-brown head (not black, although does look black from a distance), pale grey body, black tips to the primary wing feathers, and red bill and legs. The hood is lost in winter, leaving just two dark spots. Immature birds have a mottled pattern of brown spots over most of the body,[4] and a black band on the tail. There is no difference in plumage between the sexes.
      Range: Winter visitor; commoner on western seaboard; also strays inland, both on passage and for short halts.
      Diet: Offal, fish, prawns, insects and earthworms.

    • Tern, Greater Crested [+] Scientific name: thalasseus bergii
      Size: 49 cms.
      General: Also called the Crested Tern or Swift Tern. A seabird in the tern family which nests in dense colonies on coastlines and islands. It has grey upperparts, white underparts, a yellow bill, and a shaggy black crest which recedes in winter. Its young have a distinctive appearance, with strongly patterned grey, brown and white plumage. This is an adaptable species which has learned to follow fishing boats for jettisoned bycatch, and to utilise unusual nest sites such as the roofs of buildings and artificial islands in salt pans and sewage works.
      Range: Most of coastal India.
      Diet: Mostly fish, with cephalopods, crustaceans and insects.

    • Tern, Lesser Crested [+] Scientific name: thalasseus bengalensis
      Size: 40 cms.
      General: A seabird of the tern family Sternidae. This is a medium-large tern. The summer adult has a black cap, black legs and a long sharp orange bill. The upperwings, rump and central tail feathers are grey and the underparts white. The primary flight feathers darken during the summer. In winter, the forehead becomes white. The call is a loud grating noise. This species breeds in dense colonies on coasts and islands. Like all Thalasseus terns, Lesser Crested Tern feeds by plunge-diving for fish, usually from saline environments. It usually dives directly. The offering of fish by the male to the female is part of the courtship display.
      Range: Most of coastal India.
      Diet: Mostly fish, with cephalopods, crustaceans and insects.

    • Tern, Indian River [+] Scientific name: sterna aurantia
      Size: 42 cms.
      General: dark grey upperparts, white underparts, a forked tail with long flexible streamers, and long pointed wings. The bill is yellow and the legs red. It has a black cap in breeding plumage. In the winter the cap is greyish white, flecked and streaked with black, there is a dark mask through the eye, and the tip of the bill becomes dusky. The sexes are similar but juveniles have a brown head, brown-marked grey upperparts, grey breast sides and white underparts. The bill is yellowish with a dark tip.
      Range: Most of India.
      Diet: Mostly fish, aquatic insects, also crabs, crustaceans and molluscs.

    • Tern, Sandwich [+] Scientific name: thalasseus sandvicensis
      Size: 40 cms.
      General: The Sandwich Tern is a medium-large tern with grey upperparts, white underparts, a yellow-tipped black bill and a shaggy black crest which becomes less extensive in winter with a white crown. Young birds bear grey and brown scalloped plumage on their backs and wings. It is a vocal bird. It nests in a ground scrape and lays one to three eggs. Like all Thalasseus terns, the Sandwich Tern feeds by plunge diving for fish, usually in marine environments, and the offering of fish by the male to the female is part of the courtship display. The terns, family Sternidae, are small to medium-sized seabirds, gull-like in appearance, but usually with a more delicate, lighter build and shorter, weaker legs. They have long, pointed wings, which gives them a fast buoyant flight, and often a deeply forked tail.
      Range: Most of coastal India.
      Diet: Mostly fish, with cephalopods, crustaceans and insects.

    • Tern, Whiskered [+] Scientific name: chlidonias hybrida
      Size: 24 cms.
      General: The summer adult has white cheeks and red legs and bill. The crown is flecked with white in the juvenile, and the hindcrown is more uniformly blackish, though in the winter adult this too is flecked with white. The black ear-coverts are joined to the black of the hindcrown, and the space above is mottled with white, causing the black to appear as a C-shaped band. The sides of the neck are white; this sometimes continues across the nape. The collar is less sharply defined. All through the year the rump is pale grey. In the juvenile, the mantle (279 mm) has a variegated pattern. In winter, the forehead becomes white and the body plumage a much paler grey. Juvenile whiskered terns have a ginger scaly back, and otherwise look much like winter adults. The first winter plumage is intermediate between juvenile and adult winter, with patchy ginger on the back.
      Range: Breeds in Kashmir and the Gangetic plain; common in winter over most of India.
      Diet: Mostly small fish, amphibians, insects and crustaceans.

  20. Hawks, Kites and Eagles [+]
    Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey, which includes hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures. These birds have powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons and keen eyesight. There are 233 species worldwide and 57 species which occur in India.
    Order: Falconiformes | Family: Accipitridae
    • Buzzard, Oriental Honey [+] Scientific name: pernis ptilorhynchus ruficollis
      Size: 57-60 cms.
      General: This is a medium-sized raptor that lacks a strong superciliary ridge, giving it a facial appearance very unlike a raptor. It appears long-necked with a small head resembling that of a pigeon. It has a long tail and a short head crest. It is brown above, and paler below. A dark throat stripe is present. Unusually for a large bird of prey, the sexes can be distinguished. The male has a blue-grey head with brownish-red iris, while the female's head is brown and the iris is yellow. She is slightly larger and darker than the male. The male has two black bands in the tail and three black under wing bands, while the female has three black tail bands and four narrower black under wing bands. The juvenile has extensive black primary tips with narrower underwing bands. It has a yellow cere at the base of the bill, and a dark iris. The colouration and the tail pattern of the species are highly variable.
      Range: Resident and local migrant; all India to about 2000m in the Himalayas.
      Diet: Mainly larvae of social bees and wasps, eating bits of comb and honey. Takes other small insect prey and occasionally eats small birds, reptiles and frogs.

    • Eagle, Grey-headed Fish [+] Scientific name: ichthyophaga ichthyaetus
      Size: 75 cms.
      General: A smallish to medium-sized but quite bulky fish eagle. Has a small bill, a small head on long neck, rounded tail and shortish legs with unfeathered tarsi and long talons. Wings aren t very long and wingtips reach less than halfway down tail. Males and females are sexually dimorphic. The grey-headed fish eagle has a body length of 61 75 cm. Females are heavier than males. Adults are grey-brown with a pale grey head and pale iris, belly and tail are white with the having a broad black subterminal band. Breast and neck are brown, with the wings on top dark brown with blacker primaries and below brown. Juveniles the head and neck are brown, greyer on the ides of throat, with buff supercilia and whitish streaks. The rest of the upperparts are darker brown, edged with grey and secondaries and tertials faintly barred. Tail black and white marbled with broader dark subterminal band and white tip. Belly and thighs white, while breast and flanks brown streaked with white. Iris is darker than adult. It is a sedentary bird that can be solitary or occur in pairs. It is non-migratory. Juveniles disperse from the breeding areas, presumably in search of mates or another food source. The eagle spends much of its time perching upright on bare branches over water bodies, occasionally flying down to catch fish.
      Range: Resident; from Delhi east through Gangetic plains to Assam and further east; south through the peninsula.
      Diet: Predominantly fish, sometimes birds and squirrels.

    • Eagle, Crested Serpent [+] Scientific name: spilornis cheela
      Size: 75 cms.
      General: This large, dark brown eagle is stocky, with rounded wings and a short tail. Its short black and white fan-shaped crest gives it a thick-necked appearance. The bare facial skin and feet are yellow. The underside is spotted with white and yellowish-brown. When perched the wing tips do not reach until the tail tip. In soaring flight, the broad and paddle-shaped wings are held in a shallow V. The tail and underside of the flight feathers are black with broad white bars. Young birds show a lot of white on the head. Their powerful feet are unfeathered and heavily scaled. They forage over the forest canopy with their wings and tail showing broad white and black bars and often call with a piercing and familiar three or two-note call. They often feed on snakes, giving them their name. The nominate form has a black throat while the peninsular Indian form has a brownish throat. There are clinal latitudinal variations, with size decreasing southward. The specific name cheela is derived from the Hindi name for kites.
      Range: Resident; all India.
      Diet: Snakes, lizards, birds and rodents.

    • Eagle, White-bellied Sea [+] Scientific name: haliaeetus leucogaster
      Size: 80 90 cms.
      General: The white-bellied sea eagle has a white head, rump and underparts, and dark or slate-grey back and wings. In flight, the black flight feathers on the wings are easily seen when the bird is viewed from below. The large, hooked bill is a leaden blue-grey with a darker tip, and the irides are dark brown. The cere is also lead grey. The legs and feet are yellow or grey, with long black talons (claws). A young bird in its first year is predominantly brown, with pale cream-streaked plumage on their head, neck, nape and rump areas. The plumage becomes more infiltrated with white until it acquires the complete adult plumage by the fourth or fifth year. The species breeds from around six years of age onwards. The lifespan is thought to be around 30 years.
      Range: Peninsular India, also flies many miles inland to freshwater lakes and rivers.
      Diet: Aquatic animals like fish, turtles and sea snakes,also takes birds.

    • Harrier, Montagu's [+] Scientific name: circus pygargus
      Size: 43-47 cms.
      General: Adult males are characterized by their overall pale grey plumage contrasting with black wingtips. Compared with other harriers this species has characteristic black bands along the secondaries, both above and below the wing and rusty streaks on belly and flanks. Adult females have a broadly similar plumage to that of pallid and hen harriers. The underparts are mostly pale yellow-brown, the belly with longitudinal stripes and the wing coverts spotted. The upper parts are uniform dark brown except for the white upper tail coverts ("rump"), and the sightly paler central wing coverts. Sexual dimorphism is particularly apparent in the plumage of this species. The juvenile plumage resembles that of the female, but differs by the belly and under wing coverts which are not spotted, but uniformly red brown in colour. A melanistic form occurs regularly in this species as also partially melanistic morphs.
      Range: Most of India south of the Himalayas.
      Diet: Small rodents, small birds, bird eggs, reptiles (including snakes) and large insects.

    • Kite, Black [+] Scientific name: milvus migrans
      Size: 60 cms.
      General: Has dark-brown plumage with a forked tail. Faint streaks underbody. Commonly found and gregarious, not shy of man. Roosts communally. Capable of snatching food off yours hands if not attentive.
      Range: Resident all India.
      Diet: Omnivorous, poultry, rats, insects and even nestlings of small birds.

    • Kite, Black-eared [+] Scientific name: milvus migrans lineatus
      Size: 65 cms.
      General: Distinguished from the Black Kite by its slightly larger size as well as more squared tail while perched.
      Range: Winters in south-east Asia.
      Diet: Fish, frogs or small birds and insects.

    • Kite, Brahminy [+] Scientific name: haliastur indus
      Size: 50 cms.
      General: White head and neck, upper back and breast; rest of the plumage is a rich, rusty-chestnut; brownish abdomen and has darker tips to flight feathers. Solitary or in small parties. Loves to scavenge around water. It is mainly a scavenger, feeding mainly on dead fish and crabs, especially in wetlands and marshland but occasionally hunts live prey such as hares and bats. The young look very different. They are distinguished by their uniformly dark brown plumage with rounded tail; white parts streaked with buff. In flight, pale patch at base of primaries.
      Range: Resident and local migrant; all India.
      Diet: Stranded fish, frogs, insects, lizards, smaller birds, small snakes and rodents.
    • Shikra [+] Scientific name: accipiter badius
      Size: 32 cms.
      General: A small bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes many other diurnal raptors. The adult Shikra has pale grey upperparts and is white, finely barred reddish below. Sexes are similar except that the female is larger than the male and males have red eyes whereas females yellow. The juvenile is brown above and white, spotted with brown below. It has a barred tail. The Shikra is a bird of open woodland including savannah and cultivation. Its hunting technique is similar to that of other small hawks, relying on surprise as it flies from a hidden perch or flicks over a bush to catch its prey unaware.
      Range: Resident all India to 1600 km in the Himalayas.
      Diet: Rodents, small birds, lizards, large insects; also robs poultry.
  21. Hornbills [+]
    Hornbills are a group of birds whose bill is shaped like a cow's horn, but without a twist, sometimes with a casque on the upper mandible. Frequently, the bill is brightly coloured. There are 57 species worldwide and 10 species which occur in India.
    Order: Coraciiformes | Family: Bucerotidae
    • Hornbill, Indian Grey [+] Scientific name: ocyceros birostris
      Size: 60 cms.
      General: The Indian Grey Hornbill is a medium-sized hornbill. The upper parts of the bird are greyish brown and there is a slight trace of a pale supercilium. The ear coverts are darker. The flight feathers of the wing are dark brown with a whitish tip. The tail has a white tip and a dark subterminal band. They have a red iris and the eyelids have eyelashes. The casque is short and pointed. The male has a larger casque on a dark bill, and the culmen and lower mandible are yellowish. The bare skin around the eye is dark in the male, but sometimes pale reddish in females.
      Range: Almost throughout India, absent in arid NW regions and heavy rainfall areas of southern W Ghats.
      Diet: Fruits, insects, lizards and rodents.

    • Hornbill, Malabar Grey [+] Scientific name: ocyceros griseus
      Size: 58 cms.
      General: The bird has a pale or yellowish to orange bill. Males have a reddish bill with a yellow tip, while the females have a plain yellow bill with black at the base of the lower mandible and a black stripe along the culmen. They show a broad whitish superciliary band above the eye, running down to the neck. They fly with a strong flap and glide flight and hop around heavily on the outer branches of large fruiting trees. They have brown-grey wings, a white carpal patch and black primary flight feathers tipped with white. The bird has a grey back and a cinnamon vent. The long tail is blackish with a white tip, and the underparts are grey with white streaks. The long curved bill has no casque. Immature birds have browner upperparts and a yellow bill. Young birds have a dull white or yellow iris.
      Range: Endemic to the Western Ghats mountain range of India from about Nashik in the north to the southernmost hills.
      Diet: Berries, insects, small rodents and reptiles.

  22. Hoopoes [+]
    Hoopoes have black, white and orangey-pink colouring with a large erectile crest on their head. There are 2 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India.
    Order: Coraciiformes | Family: Upupidae
    • Hoopoe, Common [+] Scientific name: upupa epops
      Size: 31 cms.
      General: The Hoopoe is a colourful bird, notable for its distinctive 'crown' of feathers. The Hoopoe is classified in the Coraciiformes clade, a group that also includes kingfishers, bee-eaters, rollers, and woodhoopoes. The species is highly distinctive, with a long, thin tapering bill that is black with a fawn base. The strengthened musculature of the head allows the bill to be opened when probing inside the soil. The hoopoe has broad and rounded wings capable of strong flight; these are larger in the northern migratory subspecies. The Hoopoe has a characteristic undulating flight, which is like that of a giant butterfly, caused by the wings half closing at the end of each beat or short sequence of beats. In what was long thought to be a defensive posture, Hoopoes sunbathe by spreading out their wings and tail low against the ground and tilting their head up; they often fold their wings and preen halfway through. The Hoopoe also enjoys taking dust and sand baths. The diet of the Hoopoe is mostly composed of insects, although small reptiles and frogs as well as some plant matter such as seeds and berries are sometimes taken as well. It is a solitary forager which typically feeds on the ground. The diet of the Hoopoe includes many species considered to be pests by humans. For this reason the species is afforded protection under the law in many countries.
      Range: All India, from about 5500 km of the Himalayas.
      Diet: Insects caught on the ground or pulled from underground.

  23. Ibises and Spoonbills [+]
    Threskiornithidae is a family of large terrestrial and wading birds which includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings with 11 primary and about 20 secondary feathers. They are strong fliers and despite their size and weight, very capable soarers. There are 36 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in India.
    Order: Ciconiiformes | Family: Threskiornithidae
    • Ibis, Black-headed [+] Scientific name: threskiornis melanocephalus
      Size: 75 cms.
      General: Adults are typically 75 cm long and white-plumaged, with some greyer areas on the wings. The bald head, the neck and legs are black. The thick down curved bill is dusky yellow. Blood-red patches are seen on underwing and flanks in flight. In breeding plumage some slaty grey on scapulars and in wings and ornamental plumes at base of the neck. Sexes are similar. It occurs in marshy wetlands inland and on the coast, where it feeds on various fish, frogs and other water creatures, as well as on insects. It walks about actively on marshy land probing with its bill into soft mud and often feeds in shallow water with its head momentarily submerged.
      Range: Resident, local migrant; all India south of 1500 km of Himalayas.
      Diet: Frogs, insects, fish, molluscs, algal matter.

    • Ibis, Glossy [+] Scientific name: plegadis falcinellus
      Size: 65 cms.
      General: This species is a mid-sized ibis. Breeding adults have reddish-brown bodies and shiny bottle-green wings. Non-breeders and juveniles have duller bodies. This species has a brownish bill, dark facial skin bordered above and below in blue-gray (non-breeding) to cobalt blue (breeding), and red-brown legs. Unlike herons, ibises fly with necks outstretched, their flight being graceful and often in V formation. It also has shiny feathers. The diet of the Glossy Ibis is variable according to the season and is very dependent on what is available. Nesting is often in mixed-species colonies. When not nesting, flocks of over 100 individuals may occur on migration, and during the winter or dry seasons the species is usually found foraging in small flocks. They often roost communally at night in large flocks, with other species, occasionally in trees which can be some distance from wetland feeding areas.
      Range: Resident, local migrant; from western Gujarat and Maharastra through to Tamil Nadu.
      Diet: Prey includes adult and larval insects such as aquatic beetles, dragonflies, damselflies, grasshoppers, crickets, flies and caddisflies. Also leeches, molluscs crustaceans and occasionally fish, amphibians, lizards, small snakes and nestling birds.

    • Spoonbill, Eurasian [+] Scientific name: platalea leucorodia
      Size: 65 cms.
      General: The breeding bird is all white except for its dark legs, black bill with a yellow tip, and a yellow breast patch like a pelican. It has a crest in the breeding season. Non-breeders lack the crest and breast patch, and immature birds have a pale bill and black tips to the primary flight feathers. Unlike herons, spoonbills fly with their necks outstretched. They are mostly silent. Even at their breeding colonies the main sounds are bill snapping, occasional deep grunting and occasional trumpeting noises.
      Range: Resident, winter visitor in some areas; all India south of Terai.
      Diet: Frogs, small fish, crustaceans, vegetable mater.

  24. Ioras [+]
    The ioras are bulbul-like birds of open forest or thorn scrub, but whereas that group tends to be drab in colouration, ioras are sexually dimorphic, with the males being brightly plumaged in yellows and greens. There are 4 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Aegithinidae
    • Iora, Common [+] Scientific name: aegithina tiphia
      Size: 14 cms.
      General: The male is greenish above (rich black above, with yellowish rump, in the summer breeding plumage); black wings, tail; two white wing bars and bright yellow underbody. The females have yellow-green plumage; white wing-bars and greenish-brown wings. Seen usually in pairs keeping to leafy branches looking for insects and caterpillars which form the main part of their diet. They have a loud call that is often a giveaway of their presence. Seen in gardens, orchards and wooded areas even when close to habitation.
      Range: All over India from about 1800m in the Himalayas. Not seen in the desert regions of Rajasthan and Kutch.
      Diet: Insects, caterpillars, spiders and also nectar.
  25. Jacanas [+]
    The jacanas are a group of tropical waders in the family Jacanidae. They are found throughout the tropics. They are identifiable by their huge feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation in the shallow lakes that are their preferred habitat. There 8 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India and also in Kerala.
    Order: Charadriiformes | Family: Jacanidae
    • Jacana, Bronze-winged [+] Scientific name: metopidius indicus
      Size: 30 cms.
      General: Jacanas are a group of waders in the family Jacanidae that are identifiable by their huge feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation in shallow lakes, their preferred habitat. These are conspicuous and unmistakable birds. They are mainly black, although the inner wings are very dark brown and the tail is red. There is a striking white eyestripe. The yellow bill extends up as a red coot-like frontal shield, and the legs and very long toes are grey. Young birds have brown upperparts. Their underparts are white, with a buff foreneck. It feeds on insects and other invertebrates picked from the floating vegetation or the water's surface. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone.
      Range: From south Gujarat up to south of 1500 m of Himalayas and to the eastern states and down to west peninsular india.
      Diet: Mostly seeds, tubers, roots, also insects, molluscs.

    • Jacana, Pheasant-Tailed [+] Scientific name: hydrophasianus chirurgus
      Size: 30 cms.
      General: Jacanas are a group of waders in the family Jacanidae that are identifiable by their huge feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation in shallow lakes, their preferred habitat. The Pheasant-tailed Jacana is capable of swimming, although it usually walks on the vegetation. Females larger than the males. During the breeding season, the long tail adds another 14 cm. to their overall length. Breeding adults are mainly black other than white wings, head, and fore neck. The hind neck is golden. There is a striking white eyestripe. The legs and very long toes are grey. Non-breeding adults lack the long tail. The underparts are white except for a brown breast band and neck stripe. The side of the neck is golden. The Pheasant-tailed Jacana's main sources of food are insects and other invertebrates picked from the floating vegetation or the water's surface. Their call is a mewing me-onp and a nasal teeun.
      Range: All India south of 1500 m of Himalayas.
      Diet: Mostly seeds, tubers, roots, also insects, molluscs.

  26. Kingfishers [+]
    Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs and stubby tails. There are 93 species worldwide and 13 species which occur in India.
    Order: Coraciiformes | Family: Alcedinidae
    • Kingfisher, Common [+] Scientific name: alcedo atthis
      Size: 18 cms.
      General: Also known as Eurasian Kingfisher or River Kingfisher. This sparrow-sized bird has the typical short-tailed, large-headed kingfisher profile; it has blue upperparts, orange underparts and a long bill. It feeds mainly on fish, caught by diving, and has special visual adaptions to enable it to see prey under water. The glossy white eggs are laid in a nest at the end of a burrow in a riverbank. The flight of the Kingfisher is fast, direct and usually low over water. The short rounded wings whirr rapidly, and a bird flying away shows an electric-blue "flash" down its back.
      Range: All over India south of 2000 m of Himalayas.
      Diet: Fish, occasionally tadpoles and aquatic insects.

    • Kingfisher, Pied [+] Scientific name: ceryle rudis
      Size: 26 cms.
      General: A water kingfisher that is found widely distributed across Africa and Asia. Its black and white plumage, crest and the habit of hovering over clear lakes and rivers before diving for fish makes it distinctive. This kingfisher is white with a black mask, a white supercilium and black breast bands. The crest is neat and the upperparts are barred in black. Several subspecies are recognized within the broad distribution. The nominate race is found in sub-Saharan Africa, extending into West Asia. Subspecies leucomelanura is found from Afghanistan east into India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Laos.
      Range: All over India south of 2000 m of Himalayas.
      Diet: Fish, occasionally tadpoles and aquatic insects.

    • Kingfisher, Stork-Billed [+] Scientific name: halcyon capensis
      Size: 38 cms.
      General: This is a very large kingfisher, up to 38 cm in length. The adult has a green back, blue wings and tail, and grey head. Its underparts and neck are buff. The very large bill and legs are bright red. Stork-billed Kingfisher is a species of a variety of well-wooded habitats near lakes, rivers or coasts. It perches quietly whilst seeking food, and is often inconspicuous despite its size. It is territorial and will chase away eagles and other large predators. This kingfisher is commonly heard but not often seen. The call of this noisy bird is a low and far reaching peer-por-por repeated every 5 seconds or so as well cackling ke-ke-ke-ke-ke-ke.
      Range: All over India except for the dryer parts of the NW.
      Diet: Fish, frogs, crabs, rodents and young birds.

    • Kingfisher, White-throated [+] Scientific name: halcyon smyrnensis
      Size: 28 cms.
      General: A common bird found over most of India. Also called the White-breasted Kingfisher. Chestnut-brown head, neck and under-body below breast; bright turquoise-blue above, often with greenish tinge; black flight-feathers and white wing-patch in flight; white chin, throat and breast distinctive; coral-red beak and legs. Solitary or scattered pairs atop overhead powerlines, poles or tree-tops. Also frequently found far from the water looking for prey.
      Range: All over India south of outer Himalaya.
      Diet: Frogs, insects, lizards, small rodents; eating fish only occasionally belying its name.

  27. Larks [+]
    Larks are small terrestrial birds with often extravagant songs and display flights. Most larks are fairly dull in appearance. Their food is insects and seeds. There are 91 species worldwide and 22 species which occur in India.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Alaudidae
    • Bushlark, Jerdon's [+] Scientific name: mirafra affinis
      Size: 14 cms.
      General: Similar to the Indian Bushlark but has buffy lores, less white behind ear coverts, darker centre to wing coverts and central tail feathers. Dark centres of primary coverts are prominent, and wing panels are duller and rufous. It has arrowhead like spots pointing upwards on the breast. The Jerdon's Bushlark is a lark of the open countryside found in southern India. It has proven adaptable to a variety of open habitats up to a maximum elevation of 1500m. Some of these are forest perimeters, rocky scrubland, scrubby hill meadows and clearings in open-type forests, shrub-edged unused croplands, and thickets of bamboo.
      Range: Found over most of south-east India.
      Diet: Seeds and tiny insects.

    • Lark, Malabar Crested [+] Scientific name: galerida malabarica
      Size: 15 cms.
      General: It is a sedentary breeding bird in western India. Smallish, slightly smaller than the Skylark. It has a long spiky erectile crest. It is greyer than the Skylark, and lacks the white wing and tail edges of that species, which is a winter visitor to India. It is very similar to the Crested Lark, which breeds in northern India. It is smaller and dark-streaked reddish brown in plumage, whereas the Crested Lark is grey. The belly is white. The sexes are similar.
      Range: Found over most the Malabar region.
      Diet: Insects, seeds and grains.

  28. Laughing-thrushes [+]
    The laughingthrushes are a family of Old World passerine birds. They are diverse in size and coloration. These are birds of tropical areas, with the greatest variety in Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. The entire family used to be included in the Timaliidae (Old World Babblers).
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Leiothrichidae
    • Babbler, Jungle [+] Scientific name: turdoides striatus
      Size: 25 cms.
      General: Dull earth-brown plumage, rufous brown tail, ashy below. Roam about in parties of six to ten birds usually always making a racket. Also often called the 'Seven sisters' for the same reason. Spends a lot of time on the ground or on low branches of plants looking for insects and fly off making squeaking sounds to higher branches of trees when they feel threatened. Very protective of each other and can gang up if any of the flock is in trouble.
      Range: All of India south of the Himalayan foothills.
      Diet: Mostly insects, also flower nectar and figs.

    • Babbler, Yellow-Billed [+] Scientific name: turdoides affinis
      Size: 24 cms.
      General: Also called the White-headed Babbler. Similar in size and look to the Jungle Babbler except colour of the plumage. Have a creamy white crown and dull-brown above. Darker wings and has cross-barring along tail-centre, yellowish-buff below breast. Roam about in parties of six to ten birds usually always making a racket. Also often called the 'Seven sisters' for the same reason. Spends a lot of time on the ground or on low branches of plants looking for insects and fly off making squeaking sounds to higher branches of trees when they feel threatened. Very protective of each other and can gang up if any of the flock is in trouble.
      Range: Whole of southern peninsular India.
      Diet: Mostly insects, also flower nectar and figs.

    • Babbler, Large Grey [+] Scientific name: chrysomma malcolmi
      Size: 28 cms.
      General: This long-tailed and large babbler has a brown body with creamy white outer tail feathers which are easily visible as they fly with fluttery wing beats low over the ground. The lores are dark and forehead is grey with white shaft streaks on the feathers. The rump and uppertail covers are pale grey. The mantle has dusky blotches and no shaft streaks. The three outer tail feathers are white and the fourth pair has the outer web white. The wings are darker brown. The iris is yellow and the upper mandible is dark brown while the lower mandible is yellowish. The tail is faintly cross barred.
      Range: Found throughout the Indian subcontinent, south of the Himalayas, east of the Thar desert until Bihar.
      Diet: Mostly insects, but also feed on small lizards, molluscs and arachnids; seeds, grains and berries.

  29. Leafbirds [+]
    The leafbirds are small, bulbul-like birds. The males are brightly plumaged, usually in greens and yellows. There are 9 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in India.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Chloropseidae
    • Leafbird, Golden-fronted [+] Scientific name: chloropsis aurifrons frontalis
      Size: 19 cms.
      General: The adult is green-bodied with a black face and throat bordered with yellow. It has dark brown irises and blackish feet and bill. It has a yellowish orange forehead and blue moustachial line. Young birds have a plain green head and lack the black on their face and throat. The black of the face and throat appears slightly duller in females. The southern Indian race, c. a. frontalis, has a narrower yellow border to black face. The throat is black and it has a blue sub-moustachial stripe and duller orange forehead.
      Range: East of Garhwal Himalayas; Bihar, Orissa, south along E Ghats and up the W Ghats and adjoining areas.
      Diet: Insects, nectar.

    • Leafbird, Jerdon's [+] Scientific name: chloropsis jerdoni
      Size: 18 cms.
      General: This bird is very hard to detect in foliage due to its plumage. Food mostly consists of insects and flower-nectar. Noisy and so usually heard but not often seen. Makes various whistling and often harsh notes and is known to be very vocal. Seen alone or in pairs in leafy canopy; also often in mixed-hunting parties. Males have green plumage with blue in wings; yellow-green forehead; black from nostrils, base of eyes to lower throat; bright purple-blue moustachial stripes; dull yellow-green band around black throat. Females have pale blue-green mask and greenish-blue moustachial stripe.
      Range: Gardens, scrub, woodlands with lower tree densities throughout much of peninsular India.
      Diet: Insects, nectar and fruits.
  30. Monarch and Paradise Flycatchers [+]
    The monarch flycatchers are small to medium-sized insectivorous passerines which hunt by flycatching. There are 99 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Monarchidae
    • Paradise-Flycatcher, Asian [+] Scientific name: terpsiphone paradisi
      Size: Male about 50 cms. including tail-streamers; female about 20 cms.
      General: Males have tail-streamers and blue-black head, crest and throat; black in wings; silvery white body. In rufous phase the white parts are replaced by rufous-chestnut. Females have no tail-streamers; have a shorter crest; rufous above; ashy-grey throat, nuchal collar; whitish below. Solitary or in pairs, makes short sallies, flits through trees. Strictly arboreal though sometimes decending to taller bushes.
      Range: Himalayan foothills to about 1800m; N India, south to Bharatpur, absent in broad belt across Gangetic plain; widely found in peninsular India.
      Diet: Food consists of insects, spiders.
    • Monarch, Black-naped [+] Scientific name: hypothymis azurea
      Size: 16 cms.
      General: The adult male is mainly pale azure blue apart from a whitish lower belly. It has a black nape and a narrow black gorget. The female is duller and lacks the black markings. Its wings and back are grey-brown. However, several geographically separated breeding populations differ in the extent and shade of markings.
      Range: Most of India, absent in arid NW.
      Diet: Insects.
  31. Nuthatches [+]
    Nuthatches are small woodland birds. They have the unusual ability to climb down trees head first, unlike other birds which can only go upwards. Nuthatches have big heads, short tails and powerful bills and feet. There are 24 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in India and 2 in Kerala.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Sittidae
    • Nuthatch, Velvet-fronted [+] Scientific name: sitta frontalis
      Size: 12 cms.
      General: The velvet-fronted nuthatch has the typical nuthatch shape, short tail and powerful bill and feet. It is 12.5 cm long. It is violet-blue above, with lavender cheeks, beige underparts, yellow eyes, and a whitish throat. The iris is distinctly pale and yellow. The bill is red, and there is a black patch on the forehead and lores which is well developed in adults and less so in younger birds. Young birds have a dark beak and dark tips to the undertail coverts. Adult males can be told apart by the black superciliary stripe that runs above the eye and over the head, towards the nape. Females lack the supercilium and have a warmer underpart colour. Juveniles are duller versions of the adult lacking the black frontal band. There populations differ in shade and size and the distribution of white on the throat.
      Range: Patches around central and eastern India and along the Western Ghats.
      Diet: Insects and spiders.

  32. Orioles [+]
    The Old World orioles are colourful passerine birds. They are not related to the New World orioles. There are 29 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in India.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Oriolidae
    • Oriole, Black-hooded [+] Scientific name: oriolus xanthornus
      Size: 25 cms.
      General: Bright golden-yellow plumage and black head. Black and yellow wings and tail and deep pink-red beaks. Arboreal and very energetic bird. Flits between trees and branches looking for grubs. Often seen in groups and occasionally with other bird species like the Drongo and Bulbul. A beautiful bird, especially when seen in flight.
      Range: Most of India.
      Diet: Eats fruits, insects, nectar.

    • Oriole, Black-naped [+] Scientific name: oriolus chinensis
      Size: 25 cms.
      General: Males and females are very similar although the wing lining of the female is more greenish. The bill is pink and is stouter than in the Golden Oriole. It is overall golden with a strong pinkish bill and a broad black mask and nape. The adult male has the central tail feathers tipped yellow and the lateral ones are more broadly yellow. The female has the mantle colour more greenish or olive. The juvenile has a streaked underside. The Black-naped Oriole is found in forests, gardens and plantations. It feeds on berries and insects in the canopy. Black-naped Orioles have been recorded to feed on a range of berries including Trema orientalis, Ficus and others apart from insects. They can sometimes be nest predators on smaller birds.[
      Range: Widespread across India during winter, mainly in the northeastern parts and in the peninsular region.
      Diet: Eats fruits, insects, nectar.

    • Oriole, Indian Golden [+] Scientific name: oriolus oriolus
      Size: 25 cms.
      General: Males have a bright golden-yellow plumage; black stripe through the eyes; black wings and centre of tail. Females have yellow-green tops; brownish-green wings; dirty-white below, streaked brown. Young ones look very like the females. Solitary birds or seen in pairs; arboreal, visits fruiting trees and hunts for insects in the foliage. Usually heard but in spite of the bright plumage not often seen.
      Range: Summer visitor to the Himalayan foothills. Spreads in winter to the plains and also breeds in peninsular India.
      Diet: Eats fruits, insects, nectar.
  33. Owls [+]
    The typical owls are small to large solitary nocturnal birds of prey. They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye called a facial disk. There are 195 species worldwide and 33 species which occur in India.
    Order: Strigiformes | Family: Strigidae
    • Owlet, Barred Jungle [+] Scientific name:glaucidium radiatum
      Size: 20 cms.
      General: The bark-coloured plumage and low profile makes them hard to detect. As their name suggests, they are not usually found near human habitation. They are partial to teak and mixed forests. They are generally crepuscular but sometimes active by day. This owl lacks ear-tufts. Darkish brown above, barred rufous and white; white moustachial stripe, centre of breas and abdomen; remainder of underbody barred dark rufous-brown and white.
      Range: Found over most of India except Rajastan, Punjab and the extreme NE states.
      Diet: Food consists of lizards, frogs, rodents, insects and small birds.

    • Owl, Brown Fish [+] Scientific name:bubo zeylonensis leschenault
      Size: 45 cms.
      General: It has prominent ear tufts but as in all fish owls, their tufts hang to the side of the head and have a scraggly look. The upperparts are rufous brown and heavily streaked with black or dark brown. The underparts are buffy-fulvous to whitish, with wavy dark brown streaks and finer brown barring. The throat is white and can be conspicuously puffed, while the facial disk is indistinct. The irides are golden yellow, the feet a duller yellow, and the bill is dark. Sexes do not differ in appearance except for size. It frequently spends the day in stands of bamboo or other large shady trees. They be found around water reservoirs, along canals, on the outskirts of villages and along sea coasts.
      Range: Found over most tropical and subtropical parts of the country.
      Diet: Food consists of fish, frogs and aquatic crustaceans, especially Potamon crabs.

  34. Parrots [+]
    Parrots are small to large birds with a characteristic curved beak. Their upper mandibles have slight mobility in the joint with the skull and they have a generally erect stance. All parrots are zygodactyl, having the four toes on each foot placed two at the front and two to the back. There are 335 species worldwide and 12 species which occur in India.
    Order: Psittaciformes | Family: Psittacidae
    • Parakeet, Rose-ringed [+] Scientific name: psittacula krameri manillensis
      Size: 42 cms.
      General: The Rose-ringed parakeet are grass-green in colour with short, hooked, red beaks. They are sexually dimorphic. The males have distinctive rosy-pink and black collar. The hen and immature birds of both sexes either show no neck rings, or display shadow-like pale to dark grey neck rings. They are gregarious by nature and are a familair sight over most of India. Wild flocks fly several miles to forage in farmlands and orchards causing extensive damage. They also raid grain depots and markets. Both males and females have the ability to mimic human speech. First it listens to its surroundings, and then it copies the voice of the human speaker. Some people hand-raise Rose-ringed parakeet chicks for this purpose. This non-migrating species is one of few parrot species that have successfully adapted to living in 'disturbed habitats', and in that way withstood the onslaught of urbanisation and deforestation. In the wild, this is a noisy species with an unmistakable squawking call. The Rose-ringed Parakeet has established feral populations in India, a number of European cities, South Africa and Japan. There are also apparently stable populations in the USA.
      Range: Light forests, orchards, towns and villages.
      Diet: Food consists of buds, fruits, vegetables, nuts, berries and seeds.

    • Parrot, Vernal Hanging (Indian Lorikeet) [+] Scientific name: loriculus vernalis
      Size: 15 cms.
      General: Bright grass-green plumage; short square tail and bright crimson rump distinctive; small blue throat patch for males. Solitary or in pairs, but sometimes found in large flocks in fruiting trees. Chiefly arboreal; energetic and gymnastic, hanging upside down to feed. Also sleeps hanging upside down like bats. Occasionally seen with other birds in mixed parties.
      Range: Himalaya east of Nepal; peninsular mountains, chiefly the E and W Ghats.
      Diet: Food consists of fruit pulp, seeds and nectar.

  35. Pelicans [+]
    Pelicans are large water birds with a distinctive pouch under their beak. As with other members of the order Pelecaniformes, they have webbed feet with four toes. There are 8 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in India.
    Order: Pelecaniformes | Family: Pelecanidae
    • Pelican, Spot-billed [+] Scientific name: pelecanus philippensis roseus
      Size: 150 cms.
      General: The Spot-billed Pelican is a relatively small pelican but still a large bird. It is 125-152 cm. long. It is mainly white, with a grey crest, hindneck and a brownish tail. The feathers on the hind neck are curly and form a greyish nape crest. The pouch is pink to purplish and has large pale spots, and is also spotted on the sides of the upper mandible. The tip of the bill (or nail) is yellow to orange. In breeding plumage, the skin at the base of the beak is dark and the orbital patch is pink. In flight they look not unlike the Dalmatian Pelican but the tertials and inner secondaries are darker and a pale band runs along the greater coverts. The tail is rounder. The species is found to breed only in peninsular India, Sri Lanka and in Cambodia. A few birds from India are known to winter in the Gangetic plains. This species is a colonial breeder, often breeding in the company of other waterbirds. The nests are on low trees near wetlands and sometimes near human habitations. They are very silent although at their nests they can make hisses, grunts or snap their bills. Like most other pelicans, it catches fish in its huge bill pouch while swimming at the surface.
      Range: Breeds in well-watered parts of S, SE and E India but population spreads in non-breeding season.
      Diet: Food consists mostly of fish.

  36. Pheasants and Partridges [+]
    The Phasianidae are a family of terrestrial birds which consists of quails, partridges, snowcocks, francolins, spurfowl, tragopans, monals, pheasants, peafowls and jungle fowls. In general, they are plump (although they vary in size) and have broad, relatively short wings. There are 156 species worldwide and 46 species which occur in India. Order: Galliformes | Family: Phasianidae
    • Junglefowl, Grey [+] Scientific name: gallus sonneratii
      Size: 80 cms.
      General: The male has a black cape with ochre spots and the body plumage on a grey ground colour is finely patterned. The elongated neck feathers are dark and end in a small, hard, yellowish plate; this peculiar structure making them popular for making high-grade artificial flies. The male has red wattles and combs. Legs of males are red and have spurs while the yellow legs of females usually lack spurs. The central tail feathers are long and sickle shaped. Males have an eclipse plumage in which they moult their colourful neck feathers in summer during or after the breeding season. The female is duller and has black and white streaking on the underparts and yellow legs.
      Range: Peninsular and south India.
      Diet: Seeds, tubers, crop shoots and insects.

    • Peafowl, Indian [+] Scientific name: pavo cristatus
      Size: Male about 195 to 225 cm. including fully grown train; female about 95 cms.
      General: The Indian Peafowl is a large and brightly coloured pheasant native to South Asia, but introduced and semi-feral in many other parts of the world. The male, peacock, is a large bird with a length from bill to tail of 100 to 115 cm and to the end of a fully grown train as much as 195 to 225 cm and weigh 4 to 6 kg. The females, or peahens, are smaller at around 95 cm in length and weigh 2.75-4 kg. Their size, colour and shape of crest make them unmistakable. The male is metallic blue on the crown, the feathers of the head being short and curled. The fan-shaped crest on the head is made of feathers with bare black shafts and tipped with blush-green webbing. A white stripe above the eye and a crescent shaped white patch below the eye are formed by bare white skin. The sides of the head have iridescent greenish blue feathers. The back has scaly bronze-green feathers with black and copper markings. The scapular and the wings are buff and barred in black, the primaries are chestnut and the secondaries are black. The tail is dark brown and the "train" is made up by elongated upper tail coverts (more than 200 feathers, the actual tail has only 20 feathers) and nearly all of these feathers end with an elaborate eye-spot. A few of the outer feathers lack the spot and end in a crescent shaped black tip. The underside is dark glossy green shading into blackish under the tail. The thighs are buff coloured. The male has a spur on the leg above the hind toe.

      The adult peahen has a rufous-brown head with a crest as in the male but the tips chestnut edged with green. The upper body is brownish with paler mottling. The primaries, secondaries and tail are dark brown. The lower neck is metallic green and the breast feathers are dark brown glossed with green. The rest of the underparts are whitish. Downy young are pale buff with a dark brown mark on the nape connecting with the eyes. Young males looks like the females but the wings are chestnut coloured.

      Peafowl are best known for the male's extravagant display feathers which, despite actually growing from their back, are thought of as a tail. The "train" is in reality made up of the enormously elongated upper tail coverts. The tail itself is brown and short as in the peahen.The ornate train is believed to be the result of female sexual selection as males raised the feathers into a fan and quiver it as part of courtship display. Peafowl are omnivorous and eat seeds, insects, fruits, small mammals and reptiles. They feed on small snakes but keep their distance from larger ones.
      Range: Resident breeder across the Indian subcontinent.
      Diet: Omnivorous and eat seeds, insects, fruits, small mammals and reptiles.
  37. Pigeons and Doves [+]
    Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. There are 308 species worldwide and 29 species which occur in India.
    Order: Columbiformes | Family: Columbidae
    • Dove, Common Emerald [+] Scientific name: chalcophaps indica
      Size: 28 cms.
      General: The Common Emerald Dove is a stocky, medium-sized pigeon. The back and wings are bright emerald green. The flight feathers and tail are blackish, and broad black and white bars show on the lower back in flight. The head and underparts are dark vinous pink. The male has a white patch on the edge of the shoulders and a grey crown, which the female lacks. Females will tend to have a browner complexion with a grey mark on the shoulder. Immature birds resemble females but have brown scallops on their body and wing plumage. This is a common species in rainforest and similar dense wet woodlands, farms, gardens, mangroves and coastal heaths. It builds a scant stick nest in a tree up to five metres and lays two cream-coloured eggs. Its flight is fast and direct, with the regular beats and an occasional sharp flick of the wings which are characteristic of pigeons in general. Emerald doves usually occur singly, pairs or in small groups. They are quite terrestrial, often searching for fallen fruit on the ground and spending little time in trees except when roosting. They eat seeds and fruits of a wide variety of plants and are generally tame and approachable. The call is a low soft moaning cooing consisting of about six to seven coos starting quietly and rising. They also call a nasal hoo-hoo-hoon. Males perform a bobbing dance during courtship mush like common pigeons.
      Range: All India to about 2000m in the Himalayas.
      Diet: Seeds, fallen fruits, also known to eat termites.

    • Dove, Laughing [+] Scientific name: spilopelia senegalensis
      Size: 26 cms.
      General: The Laughing Dove is a long-tailed, slim pigeon, typically 26 cm. in length. Its back, wings and tail are reddish-brown with blue-grey in the wings. In flight, the underwings are rich chestnut. The head and underparts are pinkish, shading to whitish on the lower abdomen. There is black spotting on the throat. The legs are red. The chuckling call is a low oo-took-took-oo-roo. It is a common and widespread species in scrub, dry farmland and habitation over a good deal of its range, often becoming very tame. Laughing Doves eat grass, seeds, grains, other vegetation and small insects. They are fairly terrestrial, foraging on the ground in grasslands and cultivation. They are not particularly gregarious, and are usually alone, or in pairs.
      Range: All India to about 1200m in the Himalayas; uncommon in the NE States.
      Diet: Grains, grass and weed seeds.

    • Dove, Spotted [+] Scientific name: streptopelia chinensis
      Size: 30 cms.
      General: These birds are grey and pink-brown above, spotted white; white-spotted black hindneck collar (chessboard) diagnostic dark tail with broad white tips to outer feathers seen in flight; vinous-brown breast, merging into white on belly. Young birds are barred above and lack the chessboard. Seen in pairs or small parties on the ground flying off on intrusion; quite tame and confiding in certain places. Found often drinking and in harvest times seen with other doves in large gatherings. Usual cry is the often heard crook... cru... croo or croo... croo... croo.
      Range: All India to about 3500m in the Himalayas.
      Diet: Grains and seeds.

    • Pigeon, Feral [+] Scientific name: columba livia domestica
      Size: 15 cms.
      General: Feral pigeons, also called city doves, city pigeons or street pigeons, are derived from domestic pigeons that have returned to the wild. Feral pigeons find the ledges of buildings a perfect substitute for sea cliffs, and have become adapted to life and are abundant in towns and cities all over the world.
      Range: Most of India and commonly in cities and towns.
      Diet: Food consists of grass seeds and berries and also discarded food.

    • Pigeon, Yellow-footed Green [+] Scientific name: treron phoenicoptera
      Size: 33 cms.
      General: Ashy olive-green above; olivish-yellow collar, band in dark slaty tail; lilac-red shoulder patch which is mostly absent in the females; yellow legs and underbody. Females are slightly duller. They are mostly arboreal, remaining well hidden in the foliage. The species feeds on fruits of a large variety of fruit trees including a number of species of Ficus. They forage in flocks. In the early morning they are often seen sunning on the tops of emergent trees in dense forest areas.
      Range: From the south of Rajastan to north Orrisa downwards.
      Diet: Fruits and berries.

  38. Plovers and Lapwings [+]
    The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water. There are 66 species worldwide and 20 species which occur in India.
    Order: Charadriiformes | Family: Charadriidae
    • Plover, Greater Sand [+] Scientific name: charadrius leschenaultii
      Size: 26 cms.
      General: The bird is a small wader in the plover family of birds. This chunky plover is long-legged and thick-billed. Breeding males have grey backs and white underparts. The breast, forehead and nape are chestnut, and there is a black eye mask. The female is duller, and winter and juvenile birds lack the chestnut, apart from a hint of rufous on the head. Legs are greenish and the bill black. Obtains food by a run-and-pause technique, rather than the steady probing of some other wader groups. Its flight call is a soft trill.
      Range: Seen over most of India.
      Diet: Insects, crustaceans and annelid worms.

    • Plover, Kentish [+] Scientific name: charadrius alexandrinus
      Size: 15-17 cms.
      General: Both male and female birds have black bills and dark legs, however adults have dimorphic plumage. During the breeding season, males have a black horizontal head bar, two incomplete dark breast-bands on each side of their breast, black ear coverts and a rufous nape and crown (although there is some variation between breeding populations), whereas the females are paler in these areas, without the dark markings.
      Range: Resident and local migrant; throughout central India south from Himalayan foothills to the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
      Diet: Miniature aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates and their larvae, molluscs, crustaceans, spiders and marine worms.

    • Plover, Little Ringed [+] Scientific name: charadrius dubius
      Size: 16 cms.
      General: Adults have a grey-brown back and wings, a white belly, and a white breast with one black neckband. They have a brown cap, a white forehead, a black mask around the eyes with white above and a short dark bill. The legs are flesh-coloured and the toes are all webbed. This species differs from the larger Ringed Plover in leg colour, the head pattern, and the presence of a clear yellow eye-ring. Their breeding habitat is open gravel areas near freshwater, including gravel pits, islands and river edges in Europe and western Asia. They nest on the ground on stones with little or no plant growth. Both male and female take turn to incubate the eggs. They are migratory and winter in Africa. These birds forage for food on muddy areas, usually by sight. They eat insects and worms.
      Range: Resident and local migrant; throughout India south from Himalayan foothills.
      Diet: Insects, crustaceans, tiny crabs and worms.

    • Plover, Pacific Golden [+] Scientific name: pluvialis fulva
      Size: 25 cms.
      General: The adult is spotted gold and black on the crown, back and wings. Its face and neck are black with a white border and it has a black breast and a dark rump. The legs are black. In winter, the black is lost and the plover then has a yellowish face and breast, and white underparts. It is migratory and winters in south Asia and Australasia. This bird forages for food on tundra, fields, beaches and tidal flats, usually by sight. It eats insects and crustaceans and some berries.
      Range: Seen over most of peninsular India in the winter months.
      Diet: Insects, crustaceans and berries.

    • Lapwing, Red-Wattled [+] Scientific name: vanellus indicus
      Size: 35 cms.
      General: These birds have a jet black head, breast, necks; bronze-brown upper body; white-below, continuing to broad bands up the neck-sides towards the eyes; fleshy crimson facial wattles diagnostic. Solitary or pairs while breeding; often large flocks in winter; moves on open ground, feeding during the mornings and evenings. A very vigilant and shy species that cry out loud on seeing any new activity in the surroundings. Often feeds late into the evenings.
      Range: Resident all India from 2000m in W Himalayas.
      Diet: Insects, seeds and tubers.

    • Lapwing, Yellow-Wattled [+] Scientific name: vanellus malarbaricus
      Size: 28 cms.
      General: These birds are pale brown waders with a black crown which is separated from the brown on the neck by a narrow white band and large yellow facial wattles. The chin and throat are black and the brown neck and upper breast is separated from the white belly by a narrow blackish line. The tail has a subterminal black band which does not extend into the outer tail-feathers. There is a white wingbar on the inner half of the wing. The bill is yellow at the base. They have tiny yellow carpal spurs. The crown feathers can be raised slightly in displays. Seen solitary or in pairs, rarely in small gatherings. Prefers drier habitats in open country and are quiet and unobtrusive. Feeds on the ground and moves about suspiciously.
      Range: North-west India south through country.
      Diet: Mostly insects.

  39. Rails, Crakes, Gallinules and Coots [+]
    Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, coots and gallinules. Typically they inhabit dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, making them difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs and long toes which are well adapted to soft uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and to be weak fliers. There are 143 species worldwide and 17 species which occur in India.
    Order: Gruiformes | Family: Rallidae
    • Coot, Common [+] Scientific name: fulica atra
      Size: 42 cms.
      General: The Common Coot is largely black except for the white frontal shield. The juvenile is paler than the adult, has a whitish breast, and lacks the facial shield; the adult black plumage develops when about 3 4 months old, but the white shield is only fully developed at about one year old. This is a noisy bird with a wide repertoire of crackling, explosive, or trumpeting calls, often given at night. It is reluctant to fly and when taking off runs across the water surface with much splashing. As with many rails, its weak flight does not inspire confidence, but on migration, usually at night, it can cover surprisingly large distances. It bobs its head as it swims, and makes short dives from a little jump.
      Range: All India, resident and winter visitor.
      Diet: Shoots of aquatic plants, seeds, insects, molluscs, small frogs, eggs of other water birds also often eaten.

    • Swamphen, Grey-headed [+] Scientific name: porphyrio poliocephalus
      Size: 40 cms.
      General: The Purple Swamphen is a large bird in the family Rallidae (rails). Purplish-blue plumage; long red legs with oversized toes distinctive; thickish red beak; bald red forehead (casque); white under stumpy tail, seen when tail flicked up; bald red patch on forehead which is smaller in females. Seen in small parties amidst reds and other vegetation on marsh and jheels. Walks on floating growth and rarely seen swimming. Rather tame is some areas. It used to be considered a subspecies of the purple swamphen, but was elevated to full species status in 2015.
      Range: Mostly resident; south, thoroughout the country.
      Diet: Vegetable matter, seeds, tubers, insects, molluscs, small frogs also often eaten.

    • Watercock [+] Scientific name: gallicrex cinerea
      Size: 43 cms.
      General: It is the only member of the genus Gallicrex. Traditionally held to be closely related to moorhens (which the adult male visually resembles a lot), it is actually member of a mostly tropical Asian clade. Adult male watercocks have mainly black-grey plumage with red legs, bill, extended frontal shield and horn. Young males are buff in colour, darkening as they mature. Their bill is yellow and their legs are green. Female birds are smaller and are dark brown above and paler below. the plumage is streaked and barred with darker markings. The bill is yellow and the legs are green. The downy chicks are black, as with all rails. These birds probe with their bill in mud or shallow water, also picking up food by sight. They mainly eat insects and small fish and seeds. They forage on the ground.
      Range: Isolated in the east, west and north of the country with good range in Kerala.
      Diet: Insects, small fish, seeds.

    • Waterhen, White-breasted [+] Scientific name: amaurornis phoenicurus
      Size: 32 cms.
      General: The White-breasted Waterhen is a waterbird of the rail and crake family Rallidae. They have mainly dark grey upperparts and flanks, and a white face, neck and breast. The lower belly and undertail are cinnamon coloured. The body is flattened laterally to allow easier passage through the reeds or undergrowth. They have long toes, a short tail and a yellow bill and legs. Sexes are similar, but immature birds are much duller versions of the adults. They are shy and are often seen stepping slowly with their tail cocked upright in open marshes or even drains near busy roads looking for their favourite food consiting of insects, worms, aquatic invertebrates and seeds. They forage on the ground but clamber in low bushes and roost in low trees. They can be noisy especially at dawn and dusk, with loud croaky calls the commonest being a harsh krrr... khkk.... Usually silent during the dry season.
      Range: Almost all India south of the Himalayan foothills.
      Diet: Insects, worms, molluscs, small fish, aquatic invertebrates and seeds.

  40. Rollers [+]
    Rollers resemble crows in size and build, but are more closely related to the kingfishers and bee-eaters. They share the colourful appearance of those groups with blues and browns predominating. The two inner front toes are connected, but the outer toe is not. There are 12 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in India.
    Order: Coraciiformes | Family: Coraciidae
    • Roller, Indian [+] Scientific name: coracias benghalensis
      Size: 31 cms.
      General: Pale greenish-brown above; rufous-brown breast; deep blue tail has light blue sub-terminal band; in flight, bright Oxford-blue wings and tail, with Cambridge-blue bands distinctive. Solitary or in pairs found perched on overhead wires, bare branches, small bushtops or earthen mounds. Glides and drops on prey or pounces suddenly and batters prey against perch before swallowing. It is known for the aerobatic displays of the male during the breeding season. Males and females are however not readily distinguishable.
      Range: All India, south of the Himalayas.
      Diet: Insects, small lizards, frogs, rodents, snakes.

  41. Sandpipers and allies [+]
    Scolopacidae is a large diverse family of small to medium-sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers and phalaropes. The majority of these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Variation in length of legs and bills enables multiple species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food. There are 89 species worldwide and 43 species which occur in India of which 35 occur in Kerala.
    Order: Charadriiformes | Family: Scolopacidae
    • Godwit, Black-Tailed [+] Scientific name: limosa limosa
      Size: 42 cms.
      General: This is a large wader with long bill, neck and legs. During the breeding season, the bill has a yellowish or orange-pink base and dark tip; the base is pink in winter. The legs are dark grey, brown or black. The sexes are similar, but in breeding plumage, they can be separated by the male's brighter, more extensive orange breast, neck and head. In winter, adult Black-tailed Godwits have a uniform brown-grey breast and upperparts. Juveniles have a pale orange wash to the neck and breast. Generally seen in marshes, estuaries and creeks.
      Range: A winter visitor, seen mostly in the western seaboard.
      Diet: Worms, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic insects.

    • Greenshank, Common [+] Scientific name: tringa nebularia
      Size: 36 cms.
      General: The birds are grey-brown above; long, slightly upcurved, blackish beak; white forehead, underbody; in flight, white lower back, rump and absence of white in wings diagnostic; long greenish legs. In summer the colour gets darker above with blackish centres to feathers. Found solitary or in small groups of two to six birds, often with Redshanks or other waders. They feed at the edge of water but may enter the water up to belly level to feed.
      Range: A winter visitor to most of India.
      Diet: Aquatic insects, crustaceans and molluscs.

    • Sandpiper, Common [+] Scientific name: actitis hypoleucos
      Size: 20 cms.
      General: Olive-brown above, more ash-brown and streaked-brown on head, neck sides; brown rump white below, lightly streaked-brown on breast; in flight, narrow, white wing-bar and brown rump. In summer is darker above and speckled. Often seen solitary or two or three birds scattered amidst other waders. Active and makes short dashes, hobbing, wagging short tail. Usually seen flying low over water, rapid wing-beats alternating with short glides.
      Range: A winter visitor seen all over India.
      Diet: Crustaceans, molluscs and insects.

    • Sandpiper, Marsh [+] Scientific name: tringa ochropus
      Size: 25 cms.
      General: Like the Greenshank, it is greyish brown in breeding plumage, paler in winter, and has a white wedge up its back that is visible in flight. However, it is more closely related to the Common Redshank and the Wood Sandpiper. Together, they form a group of smallish shanks which tend to have red or reddish legs, and in breeding plumage are generally a subdued, light brown above with some darker mottling, with a pattern of somewhat diffuse small brownish spots on the breast and neck.
      Range: A winter visitor seen over most of India.
      Diet: Crustaceans, molluscs and insects.

    • Sandpiper, Wood [+] Scientific name: tringa glareola
      Size: 20 cms.
      General: The Wood Sandpiper is a small wader. It resembles a longer-legged and more delicate Green or Solitary Sandpiper with a short fine bill, brown back and longer yellowish legs. It differs from the first of those species in a smaller and less contrasting white rump patch, while the Solitary Sandpiper has no white rump patch at all. Its closest relative though is the Common Redshank. This is a smallish shank with yellowish legs, a breeding plumage that is generally subdued light brown above with some darker mottling and with a pattern of somewhat diffuse small brownish spots on the breast and neck. This bird is usually found on fresh water during migration and wintering. They forage by probing in shallow water or on wet mud, and mainly eat insects and similar small prey.
      Range: A winter visitor seen all over India.
      Diet: Crustaceans, molluscs and insects.

    • Snipe, Common [+] Scientific name: gallinago gallinago
      Size: 26 cms.
      General: The common snipe is a well camouflaged bird, it is usually shy and conceals itself close to ground vegetation and flushes only when approached closely. Adults are 25 27 cm (9.8 10.6 in) in length with a 44 47 cm (17 19 in) wingspan and a weight of 80 140 g (2.8 4.9 oz) (up to 180 g (6.3 oz) pre-migration). They have short greenish-grey legs and a very long (5.5 7 cm (2.2 2.8 in)) straight dark bill. The body is mottled brown with straw-yellow stripes on top and pale underneath. They have a dark stripe through the eye, with light stripes above and below it. The wings are pointed.
      Range: Breeds in parts of west Himalayas, mostly winter visitor in the sub-continent.
      Diet: Small molluscs, worms and insects.

    • Turnstone, Ruddy [+] Scientific name: arenaria interpres
      Size: 23 cms.
      General: This is a small wading bird, one of two species of turnstone in the genus Arenaria. It is now classified in the sandpiper family Scolopacidae but was formerly sometimes placed in the plover family Charadriidae. Has a dark, wedge-shaped bill, long and slightly upturned. The legs are fairly short and are bright orange. At all seasons, the plumage is dominated by a harlequin-like pattern of black and white. Breeding birds have reddish-brown upper parts with black markings. The head is mainly white with black streaks on the crown and a black pattern on the face. The breast is mainly black apart from a white patch on the sides. The rest of the underparts are white. Non-breeding adults are duller than breeding birds and have dark grey-brown upperparts with black mottling and a dark head with little white. Juvenile birds have a pale brown head and pale fringes to the upperpart feathers creating a scaly impression. It often flips over stones and other objects to get at prey items hiding underneath; this behaviour is the origin of the name "turnstone". It usually forages in flocks.
      Range: Almost all India.
      Diet: Eats mainly invertebrates, but also also takes crustaceans, molluscs and worms. Insects are particularly important in the breeding season.

    • Whimbrel [+] Scientific name: numenius phaeopus
      Size: 37-45 cms.
      General: The Whimbrel is a wader in the large family Scolopacidae. It is the one of the most widespread of the curlews. This is a migratory species. It is also a coastal bird during migration. It is fairly gregarious outside the breeding season. It is mainly greyish brown, a blackish crown with a white stripe through centre and white stripes on sides of head. Has a long curved bill (longest in the adult female) with a kink rather than a smooth curve. It is generally solitary and wary by nature. The usual call is a rippling whistle, prolonged into a trill for the song. Very similar in appearance to the Eurasian Curlew, the Whimbrel is smaller and has a shorter, decurved bill. This species feeds by probing soft mud for small invertebrates and by picking small crabs and similar prey off the surface. Prior to migration, berries become an important part of their diet.
      Range: Winter visitor; sea coast west to east.
      Diet: Crustaceans, insects and mudskippers.

  42. Shrikes [+]
    Shrikes are passerine birds known for their habit of catching other birds and small animals and impaling the uneaten portions of their bodies on thorns. A typical shrike's beak is hooked, like a bird of prey. There are 31 species worldwide and 11 species which occur in India.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Laniidae
    • Shrike, Brown [+] Scientific name: lanius cristatus lucionensis
      Size: 25 cms.
      General: This shrike is mainly brown on the upper parts and the tail is rounded. The black mask can be paler in winter and has a white brow over it. The underside is creamy with rufous flanks and belly. The wings are brown. Females tend to have fine scalloping on the underside and the mask is dark brown and not as well marked as in the male. Subspecies lucionensis has a grey crown shading into the brown upperparts and the rump appears more rufous than the rest of the upper back. The tail is more brownish. They feed mainly on insects, especially Lepidoptera. Like other shrikes, they impale prey on thorns. Small birds and lizards are also sometimes preyed upon. They typically look out for prey from a perch and fly down towards the ground to capture them.
      Range: Mostly peninsular India.
      Diet: Insects, small lizards and birds.

    • Shrike, Long-Tailed [+] Scientific name: lanius schach
      Size: 25 cms.
      General: It has some resemblances to the grey shrikes, sharing the pearl grey head and mantle and black mask extending from the forehead, through the eye, to the ear coverts. An eastern race found in Bhutan to Arunachal Pradesh, has a black head extending from the eye mask to the whole crown and nape. It is small for a grey shrike, but has a very long tail with rufous edges. The underparts are white, but with rufous flanks. The bill and legs are nearly black. This bird has a characteristic upright "shrike" attitude perched on a bush, from which it sallies after lizards, large insects, small birds and rodents. Prey may be impaled upon a sharp point, such as a thorn. This habit has also given it the name Butcher-bird. Thus secured they can be ripped with the strong hooked bill, but its feet are not suited for tearing. Its flight is undulating, but its dash is straight and determined. Seen mostly solitary, it boldly defends feeding territory.
      Range: Undergo seasonal movement all over India.
      Diet: Lizards, large insects, small birds and rodents.

  43. Sparrows [+]
    Sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small, plump, brown or grey birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed eaters, but they also consume small insects. There are 35 species worldwide and 13 species which occur in India.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Passeridae
    • Sparrow, House [+] Scientific name: passer domesticus
      Size: 15 cms.
      General: Males have a grey crown, rump; chestnut sides of neck, nape; black streaks on chestnut-rufous back, black chin, centre of throat, breast; white ear coverts. Females have dull grey-brown above, streaked darker; dull whitish-brown below. These small birds are seen in small parties or large gatherings, mostly commensal on man. Usually found feeding and nesting around habitation. Also feed in cultivation hundreds nesting together. Noisy birds making a medley of chirping notes, richer notes of breeding males.
      Range: All India to about 4000m in the Himalayas.
      Diet: Seeds, insects.
  44. Starlings [+]
    Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds. Their flight is strong and direct and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country. They eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen. There are 125 species worldwide and 18 species which occur in India.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Sturnidae
    • Myna, Common [+] Scientific name: acridotheres tristis
      Size: 23 cms.
      General: A pretty confident bird, haughty and struts around as if it owns the place. Omnivorous; eats fruits, insects, nectar and scraps. Capable, if given a chance, of entering the house and eating off the dining table. Has a rich vinous-brown plumage; black head, neck, upper breast; yellow beak, legs and naked wattle around eyes. Has a large white spot on the feathers that can be seen in flight. An omnivorous open woodland bird with a strong territorial instinct, the Myna has adapted extremely well to urban environments. They are popular as cage birds for their singing and "speaking" abilities. They are believed to mate for life.
      Range: All of India.
      Diet: Omnivorous; eats fruits, insects, nectar and scraps.

    • Myna, Jungle [+] Scientific name: acridotheres fuscus
      Size: 23 cms.
      General: These 23 cm long birds have grey plumage, darker on the head and wings. There are large white wing patches obvious in flight, and a white tail tip. The head has a forehead tuft. The bill and strong legs are bright yellow, and there is no bare skin around eye. The sexes are similar, but juveniles are browner. They are usually found close to water or rice fields. The southern Indian race has a blue iris. Like most starlings, the Jungle Myna is fairly omnivorous, eating fruit, grain and insects. In many parts of Asia, they are kept as pets. As a result, escaped birds have formed feral populations in many countries.
      Range: All of India.
      Diet: Omnivorous; eats fruits, insects, nectar and scraps.

    • Myna, Southern Hill [+] Scientific name: gracula indica
      Size: 20 cms.
      General: This 20 cm long bird has a shiny black plumage. The legs are yellow, the beak is bright orange at the base and yellow at the tip. It has white spots on the primary remiges. Like other species of mainates, the Southern Hill Myna has yellow wattles on the head, but its wattles go up much higher. It inhabits tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests, mountains, mangrove forests and plantation areas. It is usually found high in the canopy, moving in large noisy groups of about half a dozen, in treetops at the edge of the forest.
      Range: Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests of southwestern India.
      Diet: Omnivorous; eats fruits, insects, nectar.

    • Starling, Brahminy [+] Scientific name: sturnia pagodarum
      Size: 20 cms.
      General: This myna is pale buff creamy with a black cap and a loose crest. The bill is yellow with a bluish base. The iris is pale and there is a bluish patch of skin around the eye. The outer tail feathers have white and the black primaries of the wings do not have any white patches. The adult male has a more prominent crest than the female and also has longer neck hackles. Juveniles are duller and the cap is browner. Like most starlings, the Brahminy Starling is omnivorous, eating fruit and insects. They have been known to feed on the fruits of Thevetia peruviana which are toxic to many vertebrates. These birds form small flocks that mix with other birds on grass covered ground. The sometimes forage beside grazing cattle. They also visit flowers for nectar. They roost communally in large numbers in leafy trees, often in the company of parakeets and other mynas.
      Range: All India.
      Diet: Nectar, fruits and insects.

    • Starling, Chestnut-tailed [+] Scientific name: sturnus erythropygius
      Size: 21 cms.
      General: Silvery-grey above with faint brownish wash; dull rufous till breast, brighter above; black and grey in wings. Sociable and noisy birds seen in groups. Mostly stick to the upper branches of taller trees incessantly quarrelling with each other while making metallic whistling calls. Roam about in groups foraging along with birds from other species like Orioles and Babblers. Mostly seen in the upper branches of trees.
      Range: SW India, Karnataka and Kerala and spreading north to Mumbai in winter.
      Diet: Nectar, fruits and insects.

    • Starling, Malabar [+] Scientific name: sturnia blythii
      Size: 21 cms.
      General: The Malabar Starling was formerly considered to be conspecific with the Chestnut-tailed Starling. In the reoganization to create monotypic genera, the Malabar Starling was one of five Starlings moved to the resurrected genus Sturnia that had been introduced in 1837. Male has a sharply contrasting white head and orange underparts. Female is plainer, with less contrast, and white restricted to the forehead. Very similar to the Chestnut-tailed Starling. Also note grayer head and shorter bill. Found in open areas with scattered trees, often in proximity to human habitation.
      Range: SW India.
      Diet: Nectar, fruits and insects.

    • Starling, Rosy [+] Scientific name: sturnus roseus
      Size: 21 cms.
      General: The Rosy Starling, or Rose-coloured Starling, is a passerine bird in the starling family. The adult of this species is highly distinctive, with its pink body, pale orange legs and bill, and glossy black head, wings and tail. Males in the breeding season have elongated head feathers which form a wispy crest that is fluffed and more prominent when the bird gets excited; the crest is shorter in winter and the black areas have paler feather edges, which get worn away as well as the black becoming more glossy in the breeding season. Winter plumage in males is rather dull. Females have a short crest and are duller overall, especially without the sharp separation between pink and black. The juvenile can be distinguished from Common Starling, Sturnus vulgarus by its obviously paler plumage and short yellow bill. It is a strong migrant, and winters in India and tropical Asia. In India in winter, it often appears to outnumber the local starlings and mynas. This is a colonial breeder, and like other starlings, is highly gregarious, forming large winter flocks. It also shares the other species' omnivorous diet, although with a preference for insects. The song is a typical starling mixture of squeaks and rattles, given with much wing trembling.
      Range: Whole of India down from the lower ranges of the Himalayas. Absent from about May to July.
      Diet: Nectar, fruits and insects.

  45. Storks [+]
    Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked, wading birds with long, stout bills. Storks are mute, but bill-clattering is an important mode of communication at the nest. Their nests can be large and may be reused for many years. Many species are migratory. There are 19 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in India.
    Order: Ciconiiformes | Family: Ciconiidae
    • Openbill, Asian [+] Scientific name: anastomus oscitans
      Size: 68 cms.
      General: Predominantly greyish (non-breeding season) or white (breeding season) with glossy black wings and tail that have a green or purple sheen. The name is derived from the distinctive gap formed between the recurved lower and arched upper mandible of the beak in adult birds. Young birds do not have this gap. The mantle is black and the bill is horn-grey. The short legs are pinkish to grey, reddish prior to breeding. Non-breeding birds have a smoky grey wings and back instead of white. Young birds are brownish-grey and have a brownish mantle. Like other storks, the Asian Openbill is a broad-winged soaring bird, which relies on moving between thermals of hot air for sustained flight. They are usually found in flocks but single birds are not uncommon.
      Range: Resident and local migrant; all India south of Terai.
      Diet: Mostly molluscs; also frogs and crabs.

    • Stork, Painted [+] Scientific name: mycteria leucocephala
      Size: 95 cms.
      General: This large stork has a heavy yellow bill with a down-curved tip that gives it a resemblance to an ibis. The head of the adult is bare and orange or reddish in colour. The long tertials are tipped in bright pink and at rest they extend over the back and rump. There is a distinctive black breast band with white scaly markings. The band continues into the underwing coverts and the white tips of the black coverts give it the appearance of white stripes running across the underwing lining. The rest of the body is whitish in adults and the primaries and secondaries are black with a greenish gloss. The legs are yellowish to red but often appear white due their habit of urohidrosis or defecating on their legs especially when at nest. The short tail is black with a green gloss. It is found in the wetlands of the plains of tropical Asia south of the Himalayas in South Asia and extending into Southeast Asia. Their distinctive pink tertial feathers give them their name. They forage in flocks in shallow waters along rivers or lakes. They immerse their half open beaks in water and sweep them from side to side and snap up their prey of small fish that are sensed by touch. As they wade along they also stir the water with their feet to flush hiding fish. They nest colonially in trees, often along with other waterbirds. They only sounds they produce are a weak moan or sounds produced by bill clattering. They are not migratory.
      Range: Resident and local migrant found through the country's well-watered regions.
      Diet: Fish, frogs, crustaceans.

    • Stork, Woolly-necked [+] Scientific name: ciconia episcopus
      Size: 105 cms.
      General: A large black and white wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. Has glossy black crown, back, breast and huge wings. The black parts have a distinct purplish-green sheen; white neck, lower abdomen and undertail coverts. Bill is black while occasionally tinged crimson. It is a resident breeder in wetlands with trees. Also called the White-necked Stork. It walks slowly and steadily on the ground seeking its prey.
      Range: Resident all India, upto about 1400m in the Himalayas.
      Diet: Lizards, frogs, crabs and large insects.

  46. Sunbirds and Spiderhunters [+]
    The sunbirds and spiderhunters are very small passerine birds which feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Flight is fast and direct on their short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed. There are 131 species worldwide and 15 species which occur in India.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Nectariniidae
    • Sunbird, Crimson-backed [+] Scientific name: nectarinia minima
      Size: 8 cms.
      General: Adult males are velvety red on the mantle and wing coverts and there is a broad red breast band. The crown is shiny green and there are pink-violet patches on the throat and rump. The underside from the breast below is yellowish. They do not have the metallic shoulder-patch seen on the male Purple-rumped Sunbirds. The eclipse plumage (non-breeding) of the male has more olive on the head and velvet red is restricted to the lower mantle and wing coverts. The female is olive-brown but the rump is distinctly red.
      Range: Restricted to the Western Ghats from s. Gujarat to Kerala; also the Nilgiris, Palnis and associated hill ranges.
      Diet: Nectar, spiders, insects.
    • Sunbird, Loten's [+] Scientific name: nectarinia lotenia
      Size: 13 cms.
      General: Males have a metallic purplish-black colour above; dull-black wings, tail; iridescent green and purple throat and purple breast; crimson-maroon breast band and yellow feather-tufts on breast-sides diagnostic. Females have olive above; white tips to dark tail; pale yellow below; long curved beak diagnostic. Solitary or in pairs. They are important pollinating agents of many flowering trees.
      Range: Peninsular India, C Madhya Pradesh, S Bihar and Bengal.
      Diet: Nectar, spiders, insects.
    • Sunbird, Purple [+] Scientific name: nectarinia asiatica
      Size: 10 cms.
      General: Males have a metallic purple-blue colour above and on throat, breast; dark purplish-black belly; narrow chestnut maroon band between breast and belly; yellow and scarlet pectoral tufts, normally hidden under wings. The females have olive-brown above; pale yellow below. The non-breeding males are like the females but have a broad purplish-black stripe down the centre of throat to the belly. Seen solitary or in pairs , they are important pollinating agents.
      Range: Most of India south from the Himalayan foothills.
      Diet: Nectar, spiders, insects.
    • Sunbird, Purple-rumped [+] Scientific name: nectarinia zeylonica
      Size: 10 cms.
      General: Males have deep chestnut-crimson backs; metallic green crown, shoulder-patch; metallic-purple rump (after which it is named) and throat; maroon collar below throat; yellow below Females are less colourful and have ashy-brown tops, with rufous in wings; whitish throat; yellow below. They usually roam in pairs and are very active. They have a sharp, pleasant twittering call.
      Range: Peninsular India, C Madhya Pradesh, S Bihar and Bengal.
      Diet: Nectar, spiders, insects.
  47. Swallows and Martins [+]
    The Hirundinidae family is adapted to aerial feeding. They have a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and a short bill with a wide gape. The feet are adapted to perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. There are 75 species worldwide and 15 species which occur in India.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Hirundinidae
    • Swallow, Barn [+] Scientific name: hirundo rustica
      Size: 17 cms.
      General: It has steel blue upperparts and a rufous forehead, chin and throat, which are separated from the off-white underparts by a broad dark blue breast band. The outer tail feathers are elongated, giving the distinctive deeply forked "swallow tail". There is a line of white spots across the outer end of the upper tail. The female is similar in appearance to the male, but the tail streamers are shorter, the blue of the upperparts and breast band is less glossy, and the underparts more pale. The Barn Swallow is the most widespread species of swallow in the world. The Barn Swallow is a bird of open country which normally uses man-made structures to breed and consequently has spread with human expansion.
      Range: All India.
      Diet: Insects caught on the wing.

    • Swallow, Red-rumped [+] Scientific name: hirundo daurica
      Size: 19 cms.
      General: The Red-rumped Swallow is a small passerine bird in the swallow family. Red-rumped Swallows are somewhat similar in habits and appearance to the other aerial insectivores. They are fast fliers and they swoop on insects while airborne. They have broad but pointed wings. Plumage is glossy steel-blue above; chestnut supercilium, sides of head, neck-collar and rump; dull rufous-white below, streaked brown. Deeply forked tail diagnostic.
      Range: All India.
      Diet: Insects caught on the wing.

    • Swallow, Wire-Tailed [+] Scientific name: hirundo smithii
      Size: 14 cms.
      General: Has a glistening steel-blue plumage above; chestnut cap; unmarked, pure white underbody distinctive; two long wire-like projections from outer tail-feathers diagnostic. Solitary or small parties and seen almost always around water. Seen usually perched on overhead wires. Has an acrobatic flight, swooping and banking; often flies very low, drinking from the surface; roosts in river-beds and other vegetation, often with warblers and wagtails.
      Range: A common breeding (summer) visitor to north India, widespread over the country, except arid regions.
      Diet: Insects caught on the wing.

  48. Sylvia Warblers and allies [+]
    The family Sylviidae is a group of small insectivorous passerine birds. They mainly occur as breeding species, as the common name implies, in Europe, Asia and, to a lesser extent, Africa. Most are of generally undistinguished appearance, but many have distinctive songs.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Sylviidae
    • Babbler, Yellow-eyed [+] Scientific name: chrysomma sinense
      Size: 18 cms.
      General: They are rufous-brown above; whitish lores, short supercilium; yellow iris with orange-yellow eye-rim distinctive at close range; cinnamon wings; long graduated tail; white below, ringed pale fulvous on flanks and abdomen. They are found in pairs or small bands in tall grass and undergrowth. They are noisy but skulking. They work their way along stems and leaves hunting insects only to clamber into view for a few seconds before vanishing again.
      Range: Most of India except the more arid parts of Rajastan.
      Diet: Mostly insects, larvae and also flower nectar.

  49. Thick-knees [+]
    The jacanas are a group of tropical waders in the family Jacanidae. They are found throughout the tropics. They are identifiable by their huge feet and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation in the shallow lakes that are their preferred habitat. There 8 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India and also in Kerala.
    Order: Charadriiformes | Family: Burhinidae
    • Thick-knee, Great [+] Scientific name: esacus recurvirostris
      Size: 51 cms.
      General: The great thick-knee is a large wader at 49 55 cm, and has a massive 7 cm bill with the lower mandible with a sharp angle giving it an upturned appearance. It has unstreaked grey-brown upperparts and breast, with rest of the underparts whitish. The face has a striking black and white pattern, and the bill is black with a yellow base. The eyes are bright yellow and the legs a duller greenish-yellow. In flight, the great thick-knee shows black and white flight feathers on the upperwing, and a mainly white underwing. Sexes are similar, but young birds are slightly paler than adults. It is mainly nocturnal or crepuscular like other stone-curlews, but can frequently be seen foraging during the day, moving slowly and deliberately, with occasional short runs. It tends to be wary and flies off into the distance ahead of the observer, employing powerful, rather stiff wingbeats.
      Range: Interior Karnataka and Kerala, Gujarat, Himachal down to north Madhya Pradesh.
      Diet: Crabs, large insects, and other animal prey.

  50. Thrushes [+]
    The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium-sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs. There are 335 species worldwide and 36 species which occur in India.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Turdidae
    • Blackbird, Black-capped [+] Scientific name: turdus simillimus nigropileus
      Size: 26 cms.
      General: The male is brownish slate-grey with a dark cap, and the female is mid-brown, paler below. Both sexes are territorial on the breeding grounds, with distinctive threat displays, but are more gregarious during migration and in wintering areas. Pairs will stay in their territory throughout the year where the climate is sufficiently temperate. Blackbirds spend much of their time looking for food on the ground where they can become infested with ticks, which are external parasites that most commonly attach to the head of a Blackbird.
      Range: Various races make this a widespread species but nigropileus is resident up to about 1820 metres (6000 ft) in the Western Ghats of western India and the northern and central parts of the Western Ghats. Some populations migrate further south in winter.
      Diet: Insects, small fruits, earthworms.
    • Thrush, Orange-Headed [+] Scientific name: zoothera citrina
      Size: 21 cms.
      General: This bird is of the thrush family and is common in well-wooded areas of India. Most populations are resident. The species shows a preference for shady damp areas, and like many Zoothera thrushes, can be quite secretive. The adult male of the nominate subspecies of this small thrush has an entirely orange head and underparts, uniformly grey upperparts and wings, and white median and undertail coverts. It has a slate-coloured bill and the legs and feet have brown fronts and pink or yellowish rears. The Orange-headed Thrush is omnivorous, eating a wide range of insects, earthworms and fruit. It nests in trees but does not form flocks.
      Range: Most of coastal India.
      Diet: Mostly fish, with cephalopods, crustaceans and insects.

  51. Titmice [+]
    The Paridae are mainly small stocky woodland species with short stout bills. Some have crests. They are adaptable birds, with a mixed diet including seeds and insects. There are 59 species worldwide and 14 species which occur in India.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Paridae
    • Tit, Cinereous [+] Scientific name: parus cinereus
      Size: 13 cms.
      General: This tit is part of a confusing group of species but is distinct in having a grey-back, black hood, white cheek patch and a white wing-bar. The underparts are white with the black central stripe running along the length. The female has a narrower ventral line and is slightly duller. The upper tail coverts are ashy while the tail is black with the central four pairs of feathers ashy on the outer webs and all but the central pair are tipped white. The fifth pair is white with a black rachis and a band of black on the inner web. The outermost pair of tail feathers are all white with a black shaft. The undertail coverts are black towards the centre but white on the sides. These birds are usually seen in pairs or small groups that sometimes join mixed-species foraging flocks. They forage mainly by gleaning, capturing insects that are disturbed and will also feed on buds and fruits. They sometimes use their feet to hold insects which are then torn with their beak.
      Range: Most of peninsular India and isolated over other parts.
      Diet: Insects, caterpillars, small fruit.

  52. Vangas, Helmetshrikes, Woodshrikes, and Shrike-flycatchers [+]
    The family Vangidae (from Vanga, Malagasy for the hook-billed vanga, Vanga curvirostris) comprises a group of often shrike-like medium-sized birds distributed from Asia to Africa, including the vangas of Madagascar to which the family owes its name.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Vangidae
    • Woodshrike, Common [+] Scientific name: tephrodornis pondicerianus
      Size: 16 cms.
      General: The Common Woodshrike is dully ashy brown and like other woodshrikes has a large head with a strong hooked beak. They have a broad creamy brow above a dark cheek patch and white outer tail feathers contrasting with their dark tail. Young birds have streaks and spot on the crown and white spots on the mantle. The underside is also streaked and the breast is heavily marked in young birds. The northern race pallidus is pale brown above and has brown rather than black central rectrices.
      Range: Most of the country, commoner in low country.
      Diet: Insects, flower nectar.

  53. Wagtails and Pipits [+]
    Motacillidae is a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They include the wagtails, longclaws and pipits. They are slender, ground feeding insectivores of open country. There are 54 species worldwide and 20 species which occur in India.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Motacillidae
    • Pipit, Paddyfield [+] Scientific name: anthus rufulus
      Size: 15 cms.
      General: This is a large pipit at 15 cm, mainly streaked grey-brown above and pale below with breast streaking. Long legged with a long tail and a long dark bill. Sexes are similar. Summer and winter plumages similar. Young birds are more richly coloured below than adults. The population Waitei from north-western India and Pakistan is pale while the population Malayensis from the Western Ghats is larger, darker and more heavily streaked with the nominate rufulus intermediate.
      Range: South of Himalayas.
      Diet: Insects, seeds, spiders.

    • Wagtail, Dark-headed [+] Scientific name: motacilla flava thunbergii
      Size: 17 cms.
      General: This wagtail is the currently recognized subspecies of the Western Yellow Wagtail. It has a head that is dark grey, reaching down to the cheeks, and without white in males; lighter and washed greenish, with vestigial greenish supercilium in females.
      Range: Winters in the Indian subcontinent.
      Diet: Insects.

    • Wagtail, Forest [+] Scientific name: dendronanthus indicus
      Size: 18 cms.
      General: This is a distinctive wagtail, the only one placed in the genus Dendronanthus (all other wagtails are placed in Motacilla). The Forest Wagtail is 18 cm (7.1 in) in length, a slender bird with a long tail. The back and crown are olive brown, and the wings are black with two yellow wing bars and white tertial edges. There is a white supercilium, above a dark stripe through the eye. The underparts are white, apart from a black double breast band. The upper breast band is bib-like while the lower band is often broken. The sexes are similar in appearance. Young birds are more yellowish on the underside.
      Range: Winters in all of the southern part of the peninsula in addition to southwestern India.
      Diet: Insects.

    • Wagtail, Grey [+] Scientific name: motacilla cinerea
      Size: 17 cms.
      General: This slim wagtail has a narrow white supercilium and a broken eye ring. The upperparts are grey and the yellow vent contrasting with whitish underparts makes it distinctive. The breeding male has a black throat that is edged by whitish moustachial stripes. The species is widely distributed, with several populations breeding in Europe and Asia and migrating to tropical regions in Asia and Africa. They are usually seen on open marshy ground or meadows where they walk solitarily or in pairs along the ground, capturing insects that are disturbed. Like other wagtails, they frequently wag their tail and fly low with undulations and they have a sharp call that is often given in flight. They forage singly or in pairs on meadows or on shallow water marshes. They also use rocks in water and will often perch on trees. They have a clear sharp call note and the song consists of trills.
      Range: Breeds in the Himalayas and winters from foothills south throughout India.
      Diet: Insects.

    • Wagtail, Sykes' [+] Scientific name: motacilla flava beema
      Size: 16 cms.
      General: This wagtail is the currently recognized subspecies of the Western Yellow Wagtail. Its head is light grey, ears washed white and sexes often similar. This bird along with other races migrate in flocks.
      Range: A winter visitor seen over most of India.
      Diet: Insects.

    • Wagtail, White [+] Scientific name: motacilla alba
      Size: 18 cms.
      General: The White Wagtail a small passerine bird in the wagtail family Motacillidae, which also includes the pipits and longclaws. Ashy back, rump; white forehead, ear-coverts, large wing-patch and outer-tail feathers; black hind-crown, nape, continuos with throat and upper-breast; white below. The various races differ marginally and are hard to tell apart. This species breeds in much of Europe and Asia and parts of north Africa. This is an insectivorous bird of open country, often near habitation and water. It prefers bare areas for feeding, where it can see and pursue its prey. In urban areas it has adapted to foraging on paved areas such as car parks. It nests in crevices in stone walls and similar natural and man-made structures. here are a number of other subspecies, some of which may have arisen because of partial geographical isolation. Some races show sexual dimorphism during the breeding season. As many as six subspecies may be present in the wintering ground in India or Southeast Asia and here they can be difficult to distinguish.
      Range: Winter visitor over most of India.
      Diet: Insects.

    • Wagtail, White-browed (Large Pied) [+] Scientific name: motacilla maderaspatensis
      Size: 21 cms.
      General: Black above with prominent white supercilium, large wing-band and outer tail feathers; black throat, breast; white below. Female is usually browner where males are black and so not easily distinguishable. Often found on the edge of water sources looking for insects wagging tail frequently. Habitat also includes wet cultivation. Not too shy of humans.
      Range: Almost all India south of the Himalayan foothills; the only resident wagtail in the Indian plains.
      Diet: Insects.

  54. Warblers (Leaf) and allies [+]
    Leaf warblers are a family of small insectivorous birds found mostly in Eurasia and ranging into Wallacea and Africa. The species are of various sizes, often green-plumaged above and yellow below, or more subdued with grayish-green to grayish-brown colours.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Phylloscopidae
    • Warbler, Green [+] Scientific name: phylloscopus nitidus
      Size: 11 cms.
      General: This sub-species of the Greenish Warbler was recently separated and given full species status. They can be identified by the bill that is stouter than the Greenish Warbler, a pale lower mandible, brighter green upperparts, yellowish supercilium and yellow streaked breast and underparts. The lower wing bar is prominent and a faint upper wing bar can also sometimes be seen.
      Range: Scattered over the Indian subcontinent.
      Diet: Insects.

    • Warbler, Greenish [+] Scientific name: phylloscopus trochiloides
      Size: 11 cms.
      General: This is a typical leaf warbler in appearance, grayish-green above and off-white below. The single wing bar found in the southern and western populations distinguishes them from most similar species. This bird is naturally found in the North West Indian foothills and plains. It breeds in the Himalayas, but in the cold weather comes down south to montane habitats to avoid the harsh winters of the north. Like all leaf warblers, it was formerly placed in the "Old World warbler" assemblage, but now belongs to the new leaf-warbler family Phylloscopidae.
      Range: Most of the Indian subcontinent except the arid regions of Rajasthan and N. Gujarat.
      Diet: Insects.

  55. Warblers (Reed, Grauer s) and allies [+]
    Leaf warblers are a family of small insectivorous birds found mostly in Eurasia and ranging into Wallacea and Africa. The species are of various sizes, often green-plumaged above and yellow below, or more subdued with grayish-green to grayish-brown colours.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Acrocephalidae
    • Warbler, Blyth's Reed [+] Scientific name: acrocephalus dumetorum
      Size: 12.5-14 cms.
      General: This is a medium-sized warbler that has a plain brown back and pale underparts. It can easily be confused with the Reed Warbler, the Marsh Warbler and some of the Hippolais Warblers. The sexes are identical, as with most warblers, but young birds are yellower below.
      Range: Found in the Western Ghats and most of east India.
      Diet: Insects and berries.

    • Warbler, Clamorous Reed [+] Scientific name: acrocephalus stentoreus
      Size: 18-20 cms.
      General: Clamorous reed warbler is a large warbler at 18 20 cm. The adult has an unstreaked brown back and whitish underparts. The forehead is flattened, and the bill is strong and pointed. The sexes are identical, as with most warblers.
      Range: Scattered over the Indian subcontinent.
      Diet: Insects and berries.

  56. Waxbills, Munias and allies [+]
    The estrildid finches are small passerine birds of the Old World tropics and Australasia. They are gregarious and often colonial seed eaters with short thick but pointed bills. They are all similar in structure and habits, but have wide variation in plumage colours and patterns. There are 141 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in India.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Estrildidae
    • Munia, Scaly-Breasted [+] Scientific name: lonchura punctulata
      Size: 11 cms.
      General: This estrildid finch is a resident breeding bird in tropical southern Asia from India and Sri Lanka east to Indonesia and the Philippines. Chocolate brown above; olivish-yellow, pointed tail; white bars on rump; chestnut sides of face, chin, throat; white below, thickly speckled with very dark-brown on breast, flanks and part of belly (speckles may be absent during winter and much of the summer). Immature birds have pale brown upperparts, lack the darker head and have uniform buff underparts. Gregarious bird which feeds mainly on seeds. Sociable and moves in flocks often with other munias or weaver birds. It frequents open woodland and cultivation. Feeds on the ground and low bush but rests in trees. The nest is a large domed grass structure in a tree or under the eaves of a house into which 4-10 white eggs are laid.
      Range: Most of India, but absent in much of Punjab, NW regions and W Rajastan.
      Diet: Grass seeds, small berries; also feeds on insects.

    • Munia, Tricoloured [+] Scientific name: lonchura malacca
      Size: 10 cms.
      General: Has a black head, throat, breast, belly centre and thighs; rufous-chestnut back and deeper chestnut on rump. Also a white upper belly and sides of underbody. Immature birds have pale brown upperparts, lack the dark head found in adults, and have uniform buff underparts that can be confused with immatures of other munias such as the scaly-breasted munia. Feeds mainly on grain and other seeds and inhabits wet grassland habitats. It may also be found in tropical lowland moist forest habitats.
      Range: Parts of Gujarat, peninsular and central India.
      Diet: Grass seeds, paddy; also feeds on insects.

    • Munia, White-rumped [+] Scientific name: lonchura striata
      Size: 11 cms.
      General: This small bird is also called the White-rumped Mannikin and sometimes Striated Finch in aviculture. It is a small passerine bird from the family of waxbill "finches". They have a stubby grey bill and a long black pointed tail. The adults are brown above and on the breast, and lighter below; the rump is white. Sexes alike. It frequents open woodland, grassland and scrub, and is well able to adapt to agricultural land use. It is a gregarious bird which feeds mainly on seeds, moving through the undergrowth in groups and sometimes accompanying other birds. Sometimes large, mixed gatherings can cause damage to standing crops.
      Range: Peninsular India.
      Diet: Grass seeds crops; also feeds on insects.

  57. White-eyes [+]
    The white-eyes are small and mostly undistinguished, their plumage above being generally some dull colour like greenish-olive, but some species have a white or bright yellow throat, breast or lower parts, and several have buff flanks. As their name suggests, many species have a white ring around each eye. There are 96 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in India.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Zosteropidae
    • White-eye, Indian [+] Scientific name: zosterops palpebrosus
      Size: 10 cms.
      General: It is a small passerine bird in the white-eye family. This bird is small with yellowish olive upper parts, a white eye ring, yellow throat and vent. The belly is whitish grey but may have yellow in some subspecies. The sexes look similar. They forage in small groups, feeding on nectar and small insects. They are easily identified by the distinctive white eye-ring and overall yellowish upperparts. Several populations of this widespread species are named subspecies and some have distinctive variations in the extent and shades of yellows in their plumage. These white-eyes are sociable, forming flocks which only separate on the approach of the breeding season. They are highly arboreal and only rarely descend to the ground.
      Range: All of India; absent in arid parts of W. Rajasthan.
      Diet: Insects, flower nectar, berries.

  58. Woodpeckers [+]
    Woodpeckers are small to medium-sized birds with chisel-like beaks, short legs, stiff tails and long tongues used for capturing insects. Some species have feet with two toes pointing forward and two backward, while several species have only three toes. Many woodpeckers have the habit of tapping noisily on tree trunks with their beaks. There are 218 species worldwide and 33 species which occur in India.
    Order: Piciformes | Family: Picidae
    • Flameback, Common [+] Scientific name: dinopium javanense
      Size: 28 cms.
      General: The males have a crimson crown and crest and are golden-olive above with a single white stripe on the side of face. Whitish-buff below and profusely spotted black on foreneck and speckled over rest of the underbody. The females have a white-spotted black crown and crest. Seen in pairs or small bands moving jerkily up tree stems looking for insects under the bark. Arboreal and loud in nature. Has a loud cry, grating screams and loud drumming sounds.
      Range: Garhwal to NE; parts of the Eastern Ghats, W Ghats, Kerala to Tapti river.
      Diet: Insects and nectar.

    • Flameback, Black-rumped [+] Scientific name: dinopium benghalense
      Size: 30 cms.
      General: Also called the Lesser Golden-backed Woodpecker. Females can be distinguished by their spotted white on black crown and crimson crest. The males have a crimson crest and crown. These birds were named after their bright golden-yellow backs. Very noisy birds often seen in pairs and also frequently hunting in mixed parties. Frequently seen moving jerkily up tree stems looking under the bark for insects. Commonly found over most of India and often close to habitation. Not too shy of humans.
      Range: Garhwal to NE; parts of the Eastern Ghats, W Ghats, Kerala to Tapti river.
      Diet: Insects, centipedes, caterpillars, termites and figs and berries.
  59. Woodswallows [+]
    The woodswallows are soft-plumaged, somber-coloured passerine birds. They are smooth, agile flyers with moderately large, semi-triangular wings. There are 11 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in India.
    Order: Passeriformes | Family: Artamidae
    • Woodswallow, Ashy [+] Scientific name: artamus fuscus
      Size: 19 cms.
      General: Slaty-grey plumage, greyer on head; paler on rump, underbody; short square tail, tipped white; white under tail coverts; somewhat heavy-looking bird, rather swallow-like in appearance, but wings much shorter and broader. Small numbers seen in open country. Seen perching on leaf-stalks, over-head wires or flies characteristically, a few wingbeats and a glide. Hunts flying insects. Feed mostly in the mornings or evenings.
      Range: Roughly east and south from WC Gujarat to roughly Shimla.
      Diet: Winged insects.

* Bird description text material thanks to Bikram Grewal's guide Birds of the Indian Sub-continent
with a lot of inputs from Wikipedia.