Tag: Birdwatching

100 Common Birds in India

Image of peacock

I have been bird-watching for over 3 decades now. It’s one of my favourite hobbies, though I have not been able to spend as much time on it these days as I would have liked to.

India is one of the most bio-diverse countries on Earth, with a diverse range of habitat ranging from dry deserts, high mountains, to tropical rain-forests and a long coastline. And this diversity extends to the species of birds found in India as well. With over 1,200 species of birds, India ranks 9th in the list of countries by number of bird species. About 12% of the total bird species on earth can be found in India. And my guess is that I must have seen about 20 %- 22% of all the bird species in India.

Bird-watching is a very easy hobby to get into. All it needs is a good sense of observation, sight and sound. A pair of binoculars would be helpful, but not absolutely essential (to get started). But one resource that I would advise is to have a book handy to identify the birds that you see.

There are a few good birds available. One of the most commonly referred to birds for beginners is Dr. Salim Ali’s “The Book of Indian Birds“. This is the book that sparked my interest in birds and I would strongly recommend it for anyone interested in Indian birds.

I also came across a resource recently which might also be very useful for beginners. This is a PDF called “100 Common Birds in India“, written by Dr. Raju Kasambe. It is available as a free download here – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343218657_100_Common_Birds_in_India

This handy book covers all of the commonly found birds of India with their distribution map. I hope that you will find this helpful!

Bird-watching at Kaikondrahalli Lake

After nearly 3 months of lock-down, I have been feeling a touch of cabin fever lately. So, this weekend, I decided to head off to nearby Kaikondrahalli Lake for a bit of bird-watching (with my mask on, of course).

Kaikondrahalli Lake is an example of a success story in public participation to conserve Bangalore’s natural heritage. A citizen’s initiative ensured that the lake was not destroyed by rampant construction. I am not sure if it’s still being maintained by the citizens, but it is a nice lake in the neighbourhood. It’s not very large, and the good part is that it’s not been completely ‘beautified’, but rather parts of the lake have been left ‘as is’, providing a variety of habitat not often seen in other, more ‘developed’ lakes.

I have come bird-watching a couple of times before to this lake. But right from the time I started my walk around the lake this time, I was struck by the sheer number of birds that I could see all over the lake and the trees on the small island at the centre of the lake. There were 2 groups of over 60 dabchicks (Little Grebes) each whereas I had never before seen more than a couple of these birds together. The small island at the centre held a flock of over 12 Painted Storks. The trees by the side of the lake had numerous cormorant nests and parents were busy constantly feeding their chicks. I also saw numerous Grey Herons where before I might only have seen a few of them on a single water body. I did not see too many non-water birds, but by the end of my relatively short walk of about an hour, I had spotted about 32 species. Not bad, I would say!

Here’s the full list of birds that I spotted:

  1. Little Grebe
  2. Great Cormorant
  3. Indian Cormorant
  4. Darter
  5. Spot-billed Pelican
  6. Purple Heron
  7. Grey Heron
  8. Black-crowned Night-Heron
  9. Indian Pond-Heron
  10. Cattle Egret
  11. Little Egret
  12. Painted Stork
  13. Oriental White (Black-headed) Ibis
  14. Glossy Ibis
  15. Spot-billed Duck
  16. Black Kite
  17. Brahminy Kite
  18. Common Moorhen
  19. Purple Moorhen
  20. Common Coot
  21. Blue Rock (Feral) Pigeon
  22. Rose-ringed Parakeet
  23. Asian Koel
  24. White-breasted (throated) Kingfisher
  25. Black Drongo
  26. Common Myna
  27. Jungle Myna
  28. House Crow
  29. Jungle (Large-billed) Crow
  30. Ashy Prinia
  31. Oriental Magpie-Robin
  32. Purple-rumped Sunbird

 

Bird-list – Kandivaram and Annamalai

Orange Minivet
Orange Minivet – Mobile phone capture

The list of birds observed while on a recent trip to a farmhouse near Kandivarama (Karamadai) and Annamalai Tiger Reserve near Pollachi, both in Tamil Nadu state.

  1. Little Cormorant
  2. Cattle Egret
  3. Black Kite
  4. Brahminy Kite
  5. Grey Francolin
  6. Grey Junglefowl
  7. Indian Peafowl
  8. Spotted Dove
  9. Little Brown Dove
  10. Plum-Headed Parakeet
  11. Asian Koel
  12. Greater Coucal
  13. Spotted Owlet
  14. Alpine Swift
  15. White-Breasted Kingfisher
  16. Small Bee-eater
  17. Indian Roller
  18. Coppersmith Barbet
  19. Lesser Golden-Backed Woodpecker
  20. Rufous-Backed Shrike
  21. Black Drongo
  22. Ashy Woodswallow
  23. White-Bellied Drongo
  24. Bronzed Drongo
  25. Grey-Headed Starling
  26. Common Myna
  27. Jungle Myna
  28. Indian Treepie
  29. Jungle Crow
  30. House Crow
  31. Pied (Bar-Winged) Flycatcher Shrike
  32. Scarlet (Orange) Minivet
  33. Small Minivet
  34. Common Iora
  35. Gold-Fronted Chloropsis
  36. Red-Vented Bulbul
  37. Red-Whiskered Bulbul
  38. White-Browed Bulbul
  39. Yellow-Billed Babbler
  40. Jungle Babbler
  41. Asian Brown Flycatcher
  42. Oriental Magpie-Robin
  43. Pied Bushchat
  44. Paddyfield Pipit
  45. Tickell’s Flowerpecker
  46. Forest Wagtail
  47. Small Sunbird
  48. Purple Sunbird

State Birds of India

I recently came across an infographic about ‘State Birds of India’ on a Nature Group that I am part of. I am sure we all know that the Peacock is the National Bird of India, but did you know that each state of India (and most Union Territories) also have their own ‘State’ bird?

Not just Bird, each of them also has their own State Animal, Tree and Flower. The ENVIS site of Forest Research Institute has a helpful page on these – http://www.frienvis.nic.in/KidsCentre/State-Animals-Birds-Trees-Flowers-of-India_1500.aspx

Here are some (hopefully interesting!) observations of the various State Birds:

Indian Roller Bandhavgarh

The Indian Roller is the most common State Bird across India with 3 states – Karnataka, Telengana and Odisha – having this beautiful bird as their State Bird.

GREAT INDIAN HORNBIL

The state in the extreme South West of the country – Kerala – shares its State Bird with the state in the extreme North East of the country – Arunachal Pradesh. This is the Great Hornbill. And this reflects the commonality of habitat at these two extremes of the country, separated by over 3,000 kilometres of vastly different ecological habitats in between.

Indian sporting birds (1915) (14563975598)

The intriguingly named Mrs. Hume’s Pheasant is the State Bird of the North Eastern states of Manipur and Mizoram. The Hill Myna, an excellent mimic – is shared by Chattisgarh and Meghalaya.

Two of our more common birds – Asian Koel and House Sparrow – are shared by Jharkhand and Puducherry and Bihar and Delhi respectively.

Sarus cranes (Grus antigone)

Among more iconic species, the Sarus Crane is the State Bird of Uttar Pradesh, while the Great Indian Bustard is the State Bird of Rajasthan. An interesting anecdote relating to the Great Indian Bustard – apparently the only reason the Peacock was chosen as India’s National Bird was due to the unfortunate similarity of the Bustard’s name with another word in the Indian language… Which is a shame, because being India’s National Bird could greatly have improved the chances of this – India’s largest and one of the world’s heaviest flying – birds survival in the wild.

Great Indian Bustard from DNP

Note:

All Images have been sourced from Wikimedia Commons. Here are the attributions:

Bird-watching at Doddakallasandra (Konakunte) Lake

I visited Doddakallasandra Lake in South Bangalore (off Kanakapura Road) for a session of bird-watching with the long standing Bngbirds group. For a change, the location was easily accessible via public transport (thanks Deepak Jois!).

It was a pleasant, early winter morning as the group of around twenty (plus one dog) assembled at the entrance to Sri Kumaran’s Children’s Academy. The lake is not very large and we were able to cover most of the accessible parts in a couple of hours.

The list of birds observed (nomenclature as per Dr. Salim Ali’s ‘The Book of Indian Birds’):

  1. Little Grebe (breeding plumage)
  2. Indian Cormorant
  3. Darter
  4. Grey Heron
  5. Indian Pond-Heron
  6. Cattle Egret
  7. Median Egret
  8. Little Egret
  9. Oriental White Ibis (Black Headed Ibis)
  10. Glossy Ibis
  11. Spot-Billed Duck
  12. Black Kite
  13. Brahminy Kite
  14. Shikra
  15. White-Breasted Waterhen
  16. Common Moorhen
  17. Feral Pigeon
  18. Spotted Dove
  19. Rose-Ringed Parakeet
  20. Asian Koel
  21. Greater Coucal
  22. White-Breasted Kingfisher
  23. Coppersmith Barbet
  24. White-Cheeked Barbet
  25. Red-Rumped Swallow
  26. Eurasian (Indian) Golden Oriole
  27. Jungle Crow
  28. Red-Whiskered Bulbul
  29. Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher
  30. Ashy Prinia
  31. Common Tailorbird
  32. Oriental Magpie-Robin
  33. Purple-Rumped Sunbird