Chinese Pond-Heron Back
The Chinese pond heron (Ardeola bacchus) is an East Asian freshwater bird of the heron family,
It is found in shallow fresh and salt water wetlands and ponds in China and adjacent temperate and subtropical East Asia. Essentially a lowland bird, its range is delimited by the subarctic regions in the north, and by the mountain ranges in the west and south.
The species is prone to some vagrancy.
Its food consists of insects, fish, and crustaceans. The Chinese pond heron often nests in mixed-species heronries. It lays a clutch of 3–6 blue-green eggs.
Chinese Pond-heron feeds by walking on the shore or standing motionless. It may forage as well during the day or at night. It is active at sunset and sunrise.
It is a solitary bird, sometimes seen in pairs or in small groups of 5-6 individuals.
Silver-eared Mesia Back
The silver-eared mesia is a species of bird from South East Asia.
There are seven described subspecies, with considerable variation in plumage between them. Further research is needed to establish if this represents a single species or not.
The diet of the silver-eared mesia is dominated by insects and their larvae, as well as fruit and to a lesser extent seeds. A study of the diet of feral birds in Hong Kong found that 87% of the faecal samples studied had the remains on insects in them, and 97% had the remains of fruit. The species will often associate in large groups of up to thirty individuals while foraging, and even forms groups during the breeding season. They will also join large flocks of other species in the forest, known as waves, which include other species of babblers. They generally feed closer to the ground, but may go as high as 5 meters up into the canopy.
The silver-eared mesia is a seasonal breeder, with the season lasting from November to August, although the season starts later, in April, in the northern part of its range. Both the male and female are involved in building the nest, a deep cup of bamboo and other dead leaves lined with rootlets and fern fibers. The nest takes about four days to construct and is placed near ground level or up to 2m up in a bush. Underlying its relationship with the red-billed leiothrix the nest is said to be indistinguishable from the one of that species.
The eggs of silver-eared mesia are white with light but rich madder-brown spots. Between two to five eggs are laid in a typical clutch, with four being the typical number in India but two or three more common in Malaysia. Both parents incubate the eggs, with (at least in captivity) the female incubating the eggs during the night. The eggs are incubated for 13 to 14 days after the laying of the first egg. Both parents feed the chicks, which fledge after 12 days, and parental care lasts for a further 22 days after fledging.
Collared Myna Back
The collared myna is a species of starling in the family Sturnidae.
It is found in China, India, and Myanmar.
Mynas are medium-sized passerines with strong feet. Their flight is strong and direct, and they are gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country, and they eat insects and fruit. Several species live around habitation, and are effectively omnivores.
Plumage is typically dark, often brown, although some species have yellow head ornaments. Most species nest in holes.
Some species have become well-known for their imitative skills.
Flavescent Bulbul Back
The flavescent bulbul is a species of songbird in the Pycnonotidae family. Its name comes from flavescent, a yellowish colour.
It is found in Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam. The subspecies P. f. leucops is endemic to the island of Borneo; it is sometimes considered a full species known as the pale-faced bulbul. The natural habitat of the flavescent bulbul is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.
White-vented Myna Back
The Javan myna, also known as the white-vented myna and the buffalo myna, is a myna, a member of the Starling family. It is usually found in Southeast Asia.
The Javan myna has an extremely liquid voice and, like the European starling, incorporates imitation into its repertoire (though it is not able to imitate the human voice, like the hill myna.
Like other sturnids it is omnivorous, roosts in colonies and is abundantly successful in a variety of habitats. Javan mynas are as accomplished in cities as they are in padi fields, where they will prey on insects disturbed by water buffalo, often riding the buffalo like the related oxpecker.
It lays 2-6 eggs.
Javan myna can live 8 to 20 years. It eats ants, worms, fruits, human feeds, insects and grains.
Yellow-cheeked Tit Back
The yellow-cheeked tit is a species of bird in the Paridae family.
It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Hong Kong, India, Laos, Burma, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam.
This beautiful little mystery bird is found in moist tropical forests throughout much of Asia. This species lives in moist tropical deciduous or mixed forests from the Himalayas to Vietnam. It also pops up in gardens. It is a member of the Paridae (the tits, chickadees, and titmice). Like most of parids, this species is noisy and tame as it feeds on insects, larvae, buds and berries.
The Yellow-cheeked Tit breeds between 800 and 3000 metres of elevation according to the range. This species frequents montane forest, open temperate and deciduous or mixed forest with oak, pine and rhododendron, secondary forest, wooded cultivation’s edges, plantations and areas with scattered trees. In some parts of the range, it can be found in evergreen hill forest and large gardens.
This species is seen at lower level during the non-breeding season.
The Yellow-cheeked Tit feeds on small invertebrates and larvae, spiders, buds and some fruits and berries.
This bird is often seen in pairs or in small family groups.
Outside the breeding season, they forage in large flocks with other tits and small Timaliidae species. It forages at lower and mid-level of forest trees, but also in shrubs, bushes and undergrowth.
The Yellow-cheeked Tit is often confiding and fairly tame. It is noisy as other Paridae species, due to the social behavior when they are foraging together. The social status is often determinate by sex and age, with males dominating females, and adults which dominate the young birds.
The courtship displays involve head-up, to enhance the black bib of the male, while the crest is raised during these displays.
The male probably performs courtship feeding to the female.
The Yellow-cheeked Tit is resident in its range, but it usually performs altitudinal movements in winter.
The breeding season occurs between late February and mid-August.
The Yellow-cheeked Tit nests in tree hole, rarely in walls or rocky banks. The nest is built inside the cavity. It is a platform made with moss, grass, leaves, fur, wool and feathers. Some other materials such as flower petals or snakeskin are added if available close to the nest-site. The hole is placed at about 15 meters above the ground.
The female lays 4-6 eggs. The nesting behavior of this species is unknown. The Yellow-cheeked Tit feeds on invertebrates and larvae, spiders, buds, some fruits and berries. It forages at low and mid-level of forest trees, and often in mixed groups outside the breeding season.
Grey Wagtail Back
The grey wagtail is a member of the wagtail family, Motacillidae, measuring around 18-19cm overall length. The species looks somewhat similar to the yellow wagtail but has the yellow on its underside restricted to the throat and vent. Breeding males have a black throat.
The species is widely distributed, with several populations breeding in Europe and Asia and migrating to tropical regions in Asia and Africa. The species is always associated with running water when breeding, although they may use man-made structures near streams for the nest. Outside the breeding season, they may also be seen around lakes, coasts and other watery habitats. 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.
Despite its name, the grey wagtail is a very colorful bird with a beautiful lemon-yellow rump, a feature which often leads to its mis-identification as a yellow wagtail.
The bird is widely distributed across the Palearctic region with several well marked populations. The nominate form is from western Europe including the British Isles, Scandinavia and Mediterranean region.
Grey wagtails are energetic little birds and always on the move; frantically bobbing, ducking and dashing about. Despite their rather dull name grey wagtails are actually quite colorful with a vivid lemon underneath that contrasts against the slate grey feathers above. They are common birds of fast-flowing mountain rivers and streams right across the UK and throughout much of Europe, Asia and north Africa.
To avoid the winter cold, to which they are very susceptible, grey wagtails will move into more lowland areas such as farmland and even towns and cities. They are a very versatile predator, catching small dragonflies on the wing, a variety of insects off the ground, and even fishing tadpoles out of shallow water.
The breeding season is April to July and the nest is placed near fast running streams or rivers on an embankment between stones and roots. The male in display, makes short flights up into the air and descends slowly with fluttering flight accompanied by a rapid series of chipping high notes. In Europe the nests are often made in holes in manmade structures. The clutch consists of 3–6 speckled eggs and multiple broods may be raised with declining numbers in the clutch in subsequent broods. The incubation period is about two weeks with chicks fledging within a fortnight. They live for a maximum of 8 years in the wild.
In some parts of its range the white-throated dipper nests in the same habitats as the grey wagtail and there are some records of interspecific feeding of dipper chicks by nesting wagtails.
These birds feed on a variety of aquatic invertebrates including adult flies, mayflies, beetles, crustacea and molluscs. They often forage along roadsides in winter, flushing with a sharp chi-cheep call and flying up further along the road but after some distance turning back to return to the original location.
In winter, they roost in small groups. Wintering birds have been known to return to the same sites, sometimes a small urban garden, each year.
The common cuckoo is sometimes a brood parasite of this species and kestrels may sometimes prey on them.
White-capped Water-Redstart Back
The white-capped redstart or white-capped water redstart is a species of bird of the family Muscicapidae, in the monotypic genus Chaimarrornis. The generic name of this species is derived from the Greek kheimarrhos meaning torrent and ornis meaning bird.
Male with larger white pattern on top of the head and brown red spots under the wings. It is found in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia, as well as some adjoining areas. Its natural habitat is temperate forests.
Black-crested Bulbul Back
The black-crested bulbul is a member of the bulbul family of passerine birds. It is found from the Indian subcontinent to southeast Asia.
The black-crested bulbul is generally about 19 cm in length. As the name suggests, the head of this bulbul is black while the rest of its body is different shades of yellow. Both the male and female are similar in plumage. One can make out a younger bird by its slightly duller coloring.
This is a bird of forest and dense scrub. It builds its nest in a bush; two to four eggs is a typical clutch. The black-crested bulbul feeds on fruit and insects.
Sunda Woodpecker Back
The Sunda pygmy woodpecker, also known as the Sunda woodpecker, is a species of bird in the Picidae family. It is found in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.
It is a small sized woodpecker. Males have a reddish orange crown which is absent in females.
Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical mangrove forests, and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.
A common visitor to urban areas and forests. Often found singly or in pairs rapidly moving up trees. Found from ground right up into the topmost branches of trees on dead branches.
Crested Finchbill Back
The crested finchbill is a species of songbird in the Pycnonotidae family. It is found in Bangladesh, China, India,Laos, Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Open and stunted evergreen and deciduous forest, montane scrub, secondary growth and grasses
Feeds on seeds (e.g. millet, grass), beans, peas, various types of fruit (e.g.Leucospectrum in Myanmar); also insects
Breeding in Mar–Jul; most pairs in Chin Hills (NW Myanmar) had nestlings by late Apr. Apparently breeds co-operatively
Brown-breasted Bulbul Back
The brown-breasted bulbul is a species of songbird in the Pycnonotidae family.
It is found in China, Hong Kong, Laos, Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam
Secondary growth, scrub, tall grass, gardens, thickets, clearings and streamside vegetation
Fruit, also seeds, and insects. Individuals in Myanmar seen to pluck fruit from variety of plants
Breeding season Apr–Aug, mainly May–Jun. Builds typical cup-shaped nest, usually fairly loose but sometimes more compact
Common Moorhen Back
The common moorhen (also known as the swamp chicken) is a bird species in the family Rallidae. It is distributed across many parts of the Old World.
The common moorhen lives around well-vegetated marshes, ponds, canals and other wetlands. The species is not found in the polar regions or many tropical rainforests. Elsewhere it is likely the most common rail species, except for the Eurasian coot in some regions.
The name mor-hen has been recorded in English since the 13th century. The word moor here is an old sense meaning marsh, the species is not usually found in moorland. An older name, common waterhen, is more descriptive of the bird's habitat.
This is a common breeding bird in marsh environments and well-vegetated lakes. Populations in areas where the waters freeze, such as eastern Europe, will migrate to more temperate climes. This species will consume a wide variety of vegetable material and small aquatic creatures. Seeds of grasses and sedges, and some snails. Picks food from water surface or from emergent plants while walking or swimming. Dips head, dabbles, and occasionally dives. Flips floating leaves to take snails clinging to undersides.
They forage beside or in the water, sometimes walking on lily pads or upending in the water to feed. They are often secretive, but can become tame in some areas. Despite loss of habitat in parts of its range, the common moorhen remains plentiful and widespread. Freshwater or brackish marshes with tall emergent vegetation, ponds, canals, and rice fields.
The birds are territorial during breeding season. The nest is a basket built on the ground in dense vegetation. Laying starts in spring, between mid-March and mid-May in Northern hemisphere temperate regions. About 8 eggs are usually laid per female early in the season; a brood later in the year usually has only 5–8 or fewer eggs. Nests may be re-used by different females. Incubation lasts about three weeks. Both parents incubate and feed the young. These fledge after 40–50 days, become independent usually a few weeks thereafter, and may raise their first brood the next spring. When threatened, the young may cling to the parents' body, after which the adult birds fly away to safety, carrying their offspring with them. Newly hatched chicks of the Common Gallinule have spurs on their wings that help them climb into the nest or grab emergent vegetation.
The Common Gallinule has long toes that makes it possible to walk on soft mud and floating vegetation. The toes have no lobes or webbing to help in swimming, but the moorhen is a good swimmer anyway. The Common Gallinule sometimes lifts its feet out of the water in front of the body while swimming, perhaps to pass over vegetation.
Orange-bellied Leafbird Back
The orange-bellied leafbird is a bird native to the eastern Himalayas and south China to the Malay Peninsula. It is brightly colored with an orange belly, a green back, a blue tail and flight feathers, and a black and blue patch over its throat and chest. It has a long, curved beak. It feeds on insects, spiders and nectar. Orange-bellied leafbirds make their nests from roots and fibers which are suspended from the edges of twigs at the end of a tree branch. They do not migrate.
They are resident (non-migratory) within their range and usually remain high up in the canopy of trees searching for insects to feed on.
Orange-bellied leafbirds construct their open cup-shaped nests from roots, fine stems, leaf parts, rootlets and fibers which are suspended from the edges of twigs at the end of tree branches.
The average clutch consists of 2 - 3 pinkish eggs. The incubation lasts about 14 days and is performed by the female alone, while the male feeds the brooding female. Even though unconfirmed, it appears likely, that the male also helps raise the young.
Leafbirds typically forage alone or in pairs in the sub-canopy; but some species may occasionally join mixed feeding flocks, while other species defend their feeding territories.
They feed on mostly insects, as well as taking fruits, berries and nectar.
Their long sharp beaks are curved down slightly and a brush tipped tongue, helping them to pick insects from the bark and leaves of trees. They will also pursue flushed prey into the air or down to the forest floor.
Their spiked tongues are well adapted for taking nectar from tubular flowers, such as the Rhabdornis of the Philippines. Like hummingbirds, they will hover in front of a flower while retrieving the nectar. In the process of feeding, the flowers benefit from cross-pollination as the leafbird's head becomes covered with pollen and spreads from flower to flower. As they move to the next flower, the pollen is deposited on the next flower, which is then able to produce seeds and fruit. Many native plants rely on them for pollination and would not be able to exist without the "services" inadvertently rendered by the leafbirds.
Usually, leafbirds swallow pieces of fruit whole. If this isn't possible, they will pierce the fruits with their beaks and let the juices leak into their mouths.
Thick-billed Green-Pigeon Back
Rather small-sized pigeon being under 26 cm as compared to other green pigeons. Female has greenish undertail coverts with whitish scales. Males have maroon dorsum and dull chestnut undertail coverts.
It ranges across the eastern regions of the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia, stretching from the Eastern Himalayas to Borneo and Sumatra. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical mangrove forests.
Known to feed on syconia of Figs.
Black-capped Kingfisher Back
The black-capped kingfisher is a tree kingfisher which is widely distributed in tropical Asia from India east to China,Korea and Southeast Asia. It is distinctive in having a black cap that contrasts with the whitish throat, purple blue wings and the coral red bill. The species is mainly found in coastal and mangrove habitats but can sometimes be found far inland.
Like many other kingfishers, this species was much sought for the blue feathers for their use in the millinery trade. Feathers were used in making fans in China. In Hong Kong, their feathers were cut and glued over ornaments used by women.
Black-capped Kingfishers resemble the White-throated Kingfishers in look and call. Black-capped Kingfishers, however, are more quiet than their smaller resident cousins and more wary and hard to approach closely.
Black-capped Kingfishers have a broad diet. Those near the coast eat mainly crabs and fish. Those elsewhere eat mainly insects, particularly those that live near water (dragonflies, water boatmen), but also stinging insects like bees and wasps. Occasionally, frogs and small reptiles are caught.
Black-capped Kingfishers hunt in open areas, keeping a lookout for prey from a favourite high perch (1-2m above the water or ground). They only rarely plunge into water to catch aquatic prey. Black-capped Kingfishers are solitary hunters and aggressively territorial. They may chase off not only other Black-cappeds but also other species of Kingfishers which use similar hunting techniques.
Black-capped Kingfishers nest along river banks. Both parents dig out the nest tunnel, up to 60cm deep. 4-5 eggs are laid.
Striated Heron Back
The striated heron is found in a wide variety of habitats, but usually near water, including mangrove-lined shores and estuaries, river edges, swamps, forested streams, lakes, salt flats, woods, rice fields and canals. It has been recorded from sea level up to elevations of about 4,000 metres in the Andes.
Pesticides used for agricultural purposes are a potential threat, affecting the heron both directly, through the ingestion of contaminated prey, and indirectly, by reducing prey availability. In some parts of the world the striated heron is also hunted for food.
The Striated Heron is a solitary hunter, and individuals can be very aggressive and territorial towards competing members of their species.
The Striated Heron is a skulking predator feeding primarily in and under bushes adjacent to pools and watercourses venturing also onto adjacent mudflats and similar open areas, often standing for long periods in or next to water, waiting to strike at prey. These birds stand still at the water's edge and wait to ambush prey, but are easier to see than many small heron species. They mainly eat small fish, frogs and aquatic insects, but it is an opportunistic feeder and will also take insects, worms, crustaceans, frogs, reptiles and even other birds. They sometimes use bait, dropping a feather or leaf carefully on the water surface and picking fish that come to investigate.
An adult bird was once observed in a peculiar and mysterious behavior: while on the nest, it would grab a stick in its bill and make a rapid back-and-forth motion with the head, like a sewing machine's needle. The significance of this behavior is completely unknown: While such movements occur in many other nesting birds where they seem to compact the nest, move the eggs, or dislodge parasites, neither seems to have been the case in this particular striated heron.
Young birds will give a display when they feel threatened, by stretching out their necks and pointing the bill skywards. How far this would deter predators is not known.
The Striated Heron nests in mangroves, building rough, flimsy stick platforms about 3 m to 9 m over water. Both sexes share nest-building, egg incubation and care of young. Two broods may be raised in a season. Courtship behavior has been little documented.
Yellow Bittern Back
The yellow bittern is a small bittern. It is of Old World origins, breeding in much of the Indian Subcontinent, east to Japan and Indonesia. It is mainly resident, but some northern birds migrate short distances.
The Yellow Bittern is secretive and solitary, and is most active at dawn and dusk. It prefers freshwater marshes, riverside shrubs, swamps, rice paddies and flooded fields. It feeds on a variety of aquatic insects, small fish, frogs, crustaceans and mollusks. They can be difficult to see, given their skulking lifestyle and reed bed habitat, but tend to fly fairly frequently, when the striking contrast between the black flight feathers and the otherwise yellowish plumage makes them unmistakable.
The yellow bittern's breeding habitat is reed beds. Its nest is usually built less than 1 m above the water or mud, and consists of a light platform of grass and leaves. The female usually lays 4 eggs and the young hatch in about 22 days.
Red-wattled Lapwing Back
The red-wattled lapwing inhabits open areas from lowlands up to 1,800 metres above sea level. It shows a preference for sites in close proximity to freshwater, such as wet grasslands, rivers, streams, creeks, marshes and pools. It may also be found on artificial land such as corn fields, ploughed land, rural gardens, and even occasionally on grass along highways
It usually keeps in pairs or trios in well-watered open country, ploughed fields, grazing land, and margins and dry beds of tanks and puddles. They occasionally form large flocks, ranging from 26 to 200 birds. It is also found in forest clearings around rain-filled depressions.
The diet of the lapwing includes a range of insects, snails and other invertebrates, mostly picked from the ground. They may also feed on some grains. They may sometimes make use of the legs to disturb insect prey. It runs about in short spurts and dips forward obliquely (with inflexed legs) to pick up food in a typical plover manner. They are said to feed at night being especially active around the full moon. It is uncannily and ceaselessly vigilant, day or night, and is the first to detect intrusions and raise an alarm, and was therefore considered a nuisance by hunters. Flight is rather slow, with deliberate flaps, but capable of remarkable agility when defending nest or being hunted by a hawk.
The breeding season is mainly March to August. The courtship involves the male puffing its feathers and pointing its beak upwards. The male then shuffles around the female. Several males may display to females and they may be close together. The eggs are laid in a ground scrape or depression sometimes fringed with pebbles, goat or hare droppings.
Like other lapwings, they soak their belly feathers to provide water to their chicks as well as to cool the eggs during hot weather.
The chick leaves the nest and follows the parents soon after hatching
They bathe in pools of water when available and will often spend time on preening when leaving the nest or after copulation. They sometimes rest on the ground with the tarsi laid flat on the ground and at other times may rest on one leg.
Ruddy Shelduck Back
The ruddy shelduck is a member of the family Anatidae. It is a distinctive waterfowl. Although becoming quite rare in southeast Europe and southern Spain, the ruddy shelduck is still common across much of its Asian range.
In the western parts of its range, it is threatened by habitat loss and hunting and is thought to be in decline. It is hunted in much of south-eastern Europe and south Asia, but is relatively well protected from hunting in many Buddhist countries by its status as a ‘sacred’ bird. Meanwhile, the Ruddy Shelduck is increasing and spreading more and more. This is not without consequences for the native bird population, since the Ruddy Shelduck behaves very aggressively during the breeding season: It drives all other ducks out of its territory.
It mostly inhabits inland water-bodies such as lakes, reservoirs and rivers. Occurring in more inland habitats than other shelducks, the ruddy shelduck is usually found around freshwater, salty and brackish lakes and rivers in open country, avoiding areas with dense, tall vegetation.
The ruddy shelduck is a mainly nocturnal bird. It is omnivorous and feeds on grasses, the young shoots of plants, grain and water plants as well as both aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates. On land it grazes on the foliage, in the water it dabbles in the shallows, and at greater depths, it up-ends, but it does not dive.
The ruddy shelduck is usually found in pairs or small groups and rarely forms large flocks.
The male and female form a lasting pair bond and the nest may be well away from water, in a crevice or hole in a cliff, tree or similar site. A clutch of about eight eggs is laid and is incubated solely by the female for about four weeks. The young are cared for by both parents and fledge about eight weeks after hatching.
Pheasant-tailed Jacana Back
The pheasant-tailed jacana is a jacana in the monotypic genus Hydrophasianus. This lovely southeast Asian mystery bird is unique that it is the only member of its genus . They are found worldwide within the tropical zone.
Jacanas are waders that are identifiable by their wide 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. The Pheasant-tailed Jacana, unlike other jacana’s species, is a strong flier, able to mob raptors high in the air. Unmistakable with its long tail, this bird is really graceful when walking on the floating vegetation.
The Pheasant-tailed Jacana frequents large freshwater wetlands, lakes and ponds with emergent and floating vegetation on which it breeds. It especially favors wetland with lotus, water-lilies and other similar aquatic plants.
The Pheasant-tailed Jacana feeds mainly on insects and invertebrates gleaned and picked from the water surface, and roots and leaves of floating vegetation. This species swims and feeds in open water. It grasps the roots with the bill and picks snails, crustaceans and other invertebrates from them. It also picks prey from the underside of the leaves of water-lilies. It also takes seeds and ovules of lotus and water- lilies.
These jacanas breed on floating vegetation from March to July. They are polyandrous and a female may lay up to 10 clutches. Four black-marked brown eggs are laid in the floating nests. They have polyandrous mating system, allowing the female to mate with several males, but this behaviour also depends on the size and the qualities of the male’s territory. The breeding behavior of the Pheasant-tailed Jacana is reversed, with the male performing most of the nesting duties such as to build the nest, to incubate and to brood the eggs, and to accompany the precocial chicks when feeding.
However, the female performs predator defense, preening and resting in the vicinity of the young, looking out for intruders and predators while they are feeding.
Female lays 4 olive-brown glossy eggs, remarkably pear-shaped and unmarked. Replacement clutches can be laid. Incubation (unknown) is by male alone, as the nesting duties, but female aids in territory defense. The incubating male does not copulate during this period.
The downy chicks are white below and striped with brown above. They may remain with the male for up to two months. Young are able to run, swim and dive as soon as they leave the nest.
If threatened, they can submerge almost completely under a floating leaf if their father gives the alarm signal.
Little Green Bee-eater Back
The little green bee-eater is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family. They are mainly insect eaters and they are found in grassland, thin scrub and forest often quite far from water. Green bee-eater can survive 12 to 18 years in the wild.
The little green bee-eater predominantly inhabits arid woodlands with scattered trees and bare soil or sand. The little green bee-eater can also be found in thickets around crops, in plantations, on lakesides or in dry river beds, as well as in open ground such as overgrazed pastures, gardens and farmland.
Like other species in the genus, bee-eaters predominantly eat insects, especially bees, wasps and ants, which are caught in the air by sorties from an open perch. Before swallowing prey, a bee-eater removes stings and breaks the exoskeleton of the prey by repeatedly thrashing it on the perch. The green bee-eater is an omnivorous animal and will also eat fruits and berries along with ground-dwelling insects when it needs to supplement it's diet. Migration is not known but they make seasonal movements in response to rainfall. These birds are somewhat sluggish in the mornings and may be found huddled next to each other on wires sometimes with their bills tucked in their backs well after sunrise.
The eggs are laid in an egg chamber that lies at the end of a tunnel. The nesting tunnel, which is excavated by both the male and female, can measure up to two meters long and is dug into flat, bare ground or into a gently sloping bank. Little green bee-eater nest holes are typically arranged in loose colonies of 10 to 30 pairs. The breeding pairs are often joined by helpers. Both sexes incubate.
A study suggested that green bee-eaters may be capable of interpreting the behavior of human observers. They showed an ability to predict whether a human at a particular location would be capable of spotting the nest entrance and then behaved appropriately to avoid giving away the nest location. The ability to look at a situation from another's point of view was previously believed to be possessed only by primates.
Siberian Stonechat Back
The Siberian stonechat is insectivorous. It eats almost entirely small or medium-sized insects and their larvae. Takes occasionally small vertebrates, seeds and fruit. Hunts from low perches, flying down to take prey and very often returning to the same perch. Also sometimes sallies for aerial prey. Most often seen in pairs perched up on a stick or shrub. Often flicks its wings.
It breeds in open rough scrubland or rough grassland with scattered shrubs, from sea level to about 4,000 m ASL or more. Breeding season from end of April to late July, starts later (mid-May) in northern Siberia, April to August in the Himalayas.
The nest is well hidden inside a clump of vegetation and consists of an untidy bowl of grass and rootlets. It is lined neatly with rootlets and animal hairs.
The birds seem to avoid even cool temperate conditions and stay up north only during the hot continental summer. In the montane regions of the Himalaya foothills of Bhutan, migrants can on occasion be seen foraging in fields and pastures more than 2,000 m ASL, but most move further down and south to winter in tropical regions.
White-tailed Stonechat Back
The white-tailed stonechat is a species of bird in the family Muscicapidae. It is found in Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan.
It is very similar in plumage to common stonechat.
They prefer grasslands and marshy areas with tall grass, reeds and tamarisk. They also undertake local movements, based on water availability and possibly for breeding.
Typical of stonechats, they catch their prey by dropping to ground or making short sallies from their perch. They are generally found in loose pairs, rarely in singles.
Key breeding season is Mar-May when it makes a cup shaped nest in natural depressions on the ground among plants like lotuses or tamarisk.
Violet Cuckoo Back
The violet cuckoo is a species of cuckoo in the family Cuculidae. The violet cuckoo is found in Northeast India and Southeast Asia.
Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical mangrove forests. It is also seen in gardens, orchards, and rubber plantations. It occurs from lowlands up to 1500m, but mainly below 700m.
The male is one of the most striking looking cuckoo and a poster bird for many photographers. The Violet Cuckoo is named after the appearance of the adult male bird, which has attractive glossy violet feathers on the head and upper parts of the body. The degree of violet depends very much on the angle of light and can appear very dark.
Violet cuckoos are insectivorous but they will also eat fruit. They have been seen shaking hairy caterpillars to remove the stomach contents for consumption. They forage by creeping up and down branches, but they can also fly-catch on the wing.
Cuckoos are brood parasites and lay their eggs in the nests of other birds. The males are active and vocal during the breeding season in order to attract mates. Once they have mated, the females become secretive as they search for appropriate nests in which to lay their eggs.
Host species recorded for the violet cuckoo are sunbirds and spiderhunters. Host species often recognize adult cuckoos as a threat and chase them off, but then do not recognize that the cuckoo eggs in the nest are aliens. Cuckoo chicks are usually larger than host chicks. The chicks of many cuckoo species have been observed to throw the host chicks out of the nest, although this behavior has not been recorded for the violet cuckoo yet.
Barn swallow Back
The barn swallow is the most widespread species of swallow in the world. It is found in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.
The barn swallow is a bird of open country that normally uses man-made structures to breed and consequently has spread with human expansion. It builds a cup nest from mud pellets in barns or similar structures and feeds on insects caught in flight. This species lives in close association with humans, and its insect-eating habits mean that it is tolerated by man; this acceptance was reinforced in the past by superstitions regarding the bird and its nest.
The preferred habitat of the barn swallow is open country with low vegetation, such as pasture, meadows and farmland, preferably with nearby water. This swallow avoids heavily wooded or precipitous areas and densely built-up locations. The presence of accessible open structures such as barns, stables, or culverts to provide nesting sites, and exposed locations such as wires, roof ridges or bare branches for perching, are also important in the bird's selection of its breeding range.
The barn swallow is similar in its habits to other aerial insectivores, including other swallow species and the unrelated swifts. It is not a particularly fast flier but it has the maneuverability necessary to feed on flying insects while airborne. It is often seen flying relatively low in open or semi-open areas.
The male barn swallow returns to the breeding grounds before the females and selects a nest site, which is then advertised to females with a circling flight and song. The breeding success of the male is related to the length of the tail streamers, with longer streamers being more attractive to the female.
Both sexes defend the nest, but the male is particularly aggressive and territorial.
As its name implies, the barn swallow typically nests inside accessible buildings such as barns and stables, or under bridges and wharves. The neat cup-shaped nest is placed on a beam or against a suitable vertical projection. It is constructed by both sexes, although more often by the female, with mud pellets collected in their beaks and lined with grasses, feathers, algae or other soft materials.
The killing of Barn Swallows for their feathers was one of the issues that led to the founding of the Audubon Society. The Barn Swallow's close association with humans in Europe goes back over 2,000 years. In North America, the shift from natural to human-made nest sites was nearly complete by the middle of the 20th Century.
Chestnut-capped Babbler Back
The chestnut-capped babbler is a passerine bird of the Timaliidae family.
This bird is native in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The Chestnut-crowned Babbler occurs in arid and semi-arid woodlands, scrublands with bare ground and dense or tall shrubs and trees.
It is thought to be sedentary, though little is known of its movements.
The bird feeds on insects, spiders, small amphibians, crustaceans and reptiles. It also eats fruits and seeds.
Little is known of the Chestnut-crowned Babbler's breeding habits. Even though the parents are monogamous pairs, they are cooperative breeders with groups comprising two to four breeding pairs and two to eight non-breeding helpers. They build a dome-shaped nest of sticks, with groups building multiple nests, placed in small forks in the upper canopy of trees or shrubs. Large clutches found in brood nests may be from more than one pair of babblers.
The Chestnut-crowned babbler becomes first known non-human species to communicate using language. Scientists studying the vocal noises made by the chestnut-crowned babbler have shown that it uses combinations of different sounds that on their own are meaningless but when combined convey a certain message to other members of the species
White-rumped Munia Back
The white-rumped munia or white-rumped mannikin is a small passerine bird from the family of waxbill "finches" (Estrildidae). It is native to tropical continental Asia and some adjacent islands
The white-rumped munia is a common resident breeder ranging from South Asia to southern China east to Taiwan, and through Southeast Asia south to Sumatra; 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. They are often found near water and have been observed feeding on algae. It has been suggested that they obtain protein from their diet of algae.
The nest is a large domed grass structure in a tree, bush or grass into which three to eight white eggs are laid.
This bird's domesticated and hybridised cousins, the Bengalese finch, are common pets throughout the world. But more interesting, these birds are popular models for language acquisition research. Recently, a paper was published in Nature Neuroscience demonstrating that these birds rely on strict syntactical rules to discriminate songs. This syntax is learned and further, songs with incorrect syllable syntax are ignored. This research indicates that passerine songbirds must hear sounds in a logical sequence for these sounds to make sense, a trait that was thought to be unique to humans.
Gray-faced Woodpecker Back
The grey-headed woodpecker, also known as the grey-faced woodpecker, is a Eurasian member of the woodpecker family Piciformes.
Grey-headed woodpeckers live in leaf forests and mixed forests. They breed in May and lay five to ten eggs which are brought up by both parents. The young hatch after 15–17 days, and learn to fly in four weeks. Nests in a hole usually excavated in a deciduous tree (typically aspen, alder or birch).
In summer, the grey-headed woodpecker eats maggots, beetle larvae and other insects. In winter it takes seeds, and can even come to garden feeding places, especially if fat is offered.
Intermediate Egret Back
The intermediate egret, median egret, smaller egret, or yellow-billed egret is a medium-sized heron. Some taxonomists put the species in the genus Egretta or Mesophoyx. It is a resident breeder from east Africa across the Indian subcontinent to Southeast Asia and Australia.
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.
Red-breasted Flycatcher Back
The red-breasted flycatcher is a small passerine bird in the Old World flycatcher family. It breeds in eastern Europe and across central Asia and is migratory, wintering in south Asia.
The red-breasted flycatcher is, at first glance, similar to a European robin in appearance; however, these species are not related.
They are found mainly deciduous woodlands, especially near water. They build an open nest in a tree hole or similar recess. 4–7 eggs are laid.
Asian Emerald Cuckoo Back
The Asian emerald cuckoo is a species of cuckoo in the Cuculidae family.
It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests, forest edge, parks and gardens. It frequents the canopy and crown of tall trees.
Maroon Oriole Back
The Maroon Oriole is a species of bird in the Oriolidae family, ranging across the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet, and Vietnam.
Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. It prefers moist deciduous and evergreen forests in hills from 150-700m. Usually seen singly or in pairs, it keeps to the canopy and sometimes joins mixed-species flocks.
The nesting season is from April to May. The nest is a deep massive cup of bast fibre that is bound with cobwebs. Both the male and the female birds share the parental duties.
House Sparrow Back
The house sparrow is a bird of the sparrow family Passeridae, found in most parts of the world. Its intentional or accidental introductions to many regions, including parts of Australia, Africa, and the Americas, make it the most widely distributed wild bird. Tough, adaptable, aggressive, it survives on city sidewalks where few birds can make a living; in rural areas, it may evict native birds from their nests.
The house sparrow is strongly associated with human habitations, and can live in urban or rural settings. Though found in widely varied habitats and climates, it typically avoids extensive woodlands, grasslands, and deserts away from human development. It feeds mostly on the seeds of grains and weeds, but it is an opportunistic eater and commonly eats insects and many other foods. Its predators include domestic cats, hawks, owls, and many other predatory birds and mammals.
Because of its numbers, ubiquity, and association with human settlements, the house sparrow is culturally prominent. It is extensively, and usually unsuccessfully, persecuted as an agricultural pest, but it has also often been kept as a pet, as well as being a food item and a symbol of lust and sexual potency and commonness and vulgarity. Though it is widespread and abundant, its numbers have declined in some areas.
In courtship, male displays by hopping near female with his tail raised, wings drooped, chest puffed out, bowing and chirping. Often breeds in small colonies. Pairs defend only a small territory in the immediate vicinity of nest, chasing away all intruders. Nest: Usually in an enclosed niche such as cavity in tree, hole in building, rain gutter, birdhouse, nests of other birds. Where such sites are scarce, will nest in open in tree branches. Nest (built by both parents) is made of material such as grass, weeds, twigs, trash, often lined with feathers. Inside enclosed space, material forms foundation; in open sites, nest is a globular mass with entrance on side.
Both parents feed the nestlings. Young leave nest about 2 weeks after hatching. 2-3 broods per year.
Striated Grassbird Back
The striated grassbird is an "Old World warbler" species in the family Locustellidae.
It is found in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Noisy and conspicuous, often sitting and calling exposed on tops of grasses, bushes and telephone wires.
Spectacled Barwing Back
The spectacled barwing is a species of bird in the family Leiothrichidae. It is found in China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.
Little Egret Back
The little egret (Egretta garzetta) is a species of small heron in the family Ardeidae. The genus name comes from the Provençal French Aigrette, "egret", a diminutive of Aigron," heron".
As an aquatic bird, it feeds in shallow water and on land, consuming a variety of small creatures. It breeds colonially, often with other species of water birds, making a platform nest of sticks in a tree, bush or reed bed. A clutch of bluish-green eggs is laid and incubated by both parents. The young fledge at about six weeks of age.
The little egret's habitat varies widely, and includes the shores of lakes, rivers, canals, ponds, lagoons, marshes and flooded land, the bird preferring open locations to dense cover. On the coast it inhabits mangrove areas, swamps, mudflats, sandy beaches and reefs. Rice fields are an important habitat in Italy, and coastal and mangrove areas are important in Africa. The bird often moves about among cattle or other hoofed mammals.
Little egrets are sociable birds and are often seen in small flocks. Nevertheless, individual birds do not tolerate others coming too close to their chosen feeding site, though this depends on the abundance of prey. They use a variety of methods to procure their food; they stalk their prey in shallow water, often running with raised wings or shuffling their feet to disturb small fish, or may stand still and wait to ambush prey. They make use of opportunities provided by cormorants disturbing fish or humans attracting fish by throwing bread into water. On land they walk or run while chasing their prey, feed on creatures disturbed by grazing livestock and ticks on the livestock, and even scavenge. Their diet is mainly fish, but amphibians, small reptiles, mammals and birds are also eaten, as well as crustaceans, molluscs, insects, spiders and worms.
While some egrets forage in wetlands by using the patient stand-and-wait strategy, or slowly creeping up on their prey, the Little Egret is often far more active when it is in pursuit of food. Often not content to simply stand in the shallows, the Little Egret is regularly seen dashing about frenetically, jerkily lifting its feet high out of the water while darting in this direction and that in pursuit of fish or other aquatic animals, often with its wings raised and fluttered.
Hair-crested Drongo Back
The hair-crested drongo is an Asian bird of the family Dicruridae.
It is native from India and Bhutan through Indochina to China, Indonesia, and Brunei. Hair-crested drongos move in small flocks and are very noisy, sometimes mimic other species.
Unlike many of its congeners, the hair-crested drongo is found in thick forests or groves throughout New Guinea and eastern Indonesia and into southeast Asia, India, China, and the Philippines. Several subspecies are found on southwest Pacific islands.
These birds usually feed by swooping down on their prey from a conspicuous perch. They feed mainly on insects as wasps, bees and beetles, often catching them after acrobatic aerial pursuits. These birds can easily be "tamed" by throwing small bits of raw meat, which they catch in midair.
Burmese Shrike Back
The Burmese shrike is a species of bird in the family Laniidae. It is found in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.
Yellow-breasted Bunting Back
The yellow-breasted bunting is an Eurasian passerine bird in the bunting family (Emberizidae).The specific aureola is Latin for "golden". The bird’s presence in the home is thought to be linked to "happiness".
This bright-yellow bird may look like another colourful songbird, but in parts of China and Southeast Asia it is eaten as a delicacy. The Yellow-breasted Bunting was commonly found as far away as Finland, but has all but disappeared from Europe and the northern parts of Siberia and Japan.
It is subject to heavy hunting pressure in China, through which most specimens pass during migration.
The decline of the Yellow-breasted bunting is likely to be from repeatedly trapping at migration, and most specifically winter sites. The bird’s habitat is disturbed, then caught in mist-nets. They are then cooked and sold as "sparrows" or "rice birds". Even though the actions have been restricted to a small area in southern China, it has became more widespread and popular to increasing wealth, and hunters now travel long distances to find sufficient birds. The irrigation of rice production shift has reduced the quality and quantity of wintering habitats, including the loss of water stubble. And the loss of reedbeds has reduced the available roost site numbers.
A bird that was once one of the most abundant in Europe and Asia is being hunted to near extinction because of Chinese eating habits, according to a study published on Tuesday. The population of the yellow-breasted bunting (Emberiza aureola) has plunged by 90% since 1980, all but disappearing from eastern Europe, Japan and large parts of Russia, said the study, published in the Conservation Biology journal.
Following initial population declines, China in 1997 banned the hunting of the species, known in the country as the “rice bird”. However, millions of these birds, along with other songbirds, were still being killed for food and sold on the black market as late as 2013, said the study.
It said consumption of these birds has increased as a result of economic growth and prosperity in east Asia, with an estimate in 2001 claiming 1m buntings were consumed in China’s southern Guangdong province alone.
The birds breed north of the Himalayas and spend their winters in warmer southeast Asia, passing through eastern China where they have been hunted for more than 2,000 years, according to the conservation group BirdLife International.
At their wintering grounds, they gather in huge flocks at night-time roosts, making them easy prey for trappers using nets, the group said.
The paper in Conservation Biology drew parallels between the migratory bird and the North American passenger pigeon, which became extinct in 1914 due to industrial-scale hunting. “The magnitude and speed of the decline is unprecedented among birds distributed over such a large area, with the exception of the passenger pigeon,” the paper’s lead author, Dr Johannes Kamp from the University of Munster, said in a statement released by BirdLife International.
“To reverse these declines we need to better educate people of the consequences of eating wildlife. We also need a better and more efficient reporting system for law enforcement,” said BirdLife International’s senior conservation officer Simba Chan.
Great Spotted Woodpecker Back
The great spotted woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker with pied black and white plumage and a red patch on the lower belly. Males and young birds also have red markings on the neck or head. This species is found across Eurasia and parts of North Africa. Across most of its range it is resident, but in the north some will migrate if the conifer cone crop fails. Great spotted woodpeckers chisel into trees to find food or excavate nest holes, and also drum for contact and territorial advertisement; they have anatomical adaptations to manage the physical stresses from the hammering action. During spring, it can be heard drumming; this sound is produced by beating the bill on a dead branch.
The great spotted woodpecker occurs in all types of woodlands and is catholic in its diet, being capable of extracting seeds from pine cones, insect larvae from inside trees or eggs and chicks of other birds from their nests. It breeds in holes excavated in living or dead trees, unlined apart from wood chips. The typical clutch is four to six glossy white eggs. Both parents incubate the eggs, feed the chicks and keep the nest clean. When the young fledge they are fed by the adults for about ten days, each parent taking responsibility for feeding part of the brood.
Black-naped Monarch Back
The black-naped monarch or black-naped blue flycatcher is a slim and agile passerine bird belonging to the family of monarch flycatchers found in southern and south-eastern Asia. It breeds across tropical southern Asia from India and Sri Lanka east to Indonesia and the Philippines. This species is usually found in thick forests and other well-wooded habitats.
The black-naped monarch has short legs and sits very upright whilst perched prominently, like a shrike. It is insectivorous, often hunting by flycatching. When alarmed or alert, the nape feathers are raised into a pointed crest. They will join mixed-species foraging flocks and are active in the understory of the canopy.
Although they are largely residents, local seasonal movements are known. The breeding season in India is March to August and the nest is neat cup placed in a fork. The nest is built by the female while the male guards. The typical clutch is of three eggs which both parents incubate and feed the young which hatch after about 12 days.
The webs of large spiders have been known to trap the bird.
Black-throated Laughingthrush Back
The black-throated laughingthrush is a species of bird in the family Leiothrichidae. It is found in Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Food : Insects, crustaceans and a variety of seeds and vegetation.
Cup shaped nests are made with moss, dead leaves and other available materials. Eggs are oval shaped and have a glossy, blue colour. The incubation period is approximately 14 days. The young are born featherless, are blind and feeble (altricial). However, they grow at a fast rate often eating the equivalent of their own weight, each day. The nesting period is from 13 to 16 days.
Highly sociable birds staying in small flocks while foraging for food. They have a wide variety of calls and call frequently and noisily to stay in touch with each other. When alarmed, their calls become a loud and harsh chattering or screaming. They stay close with their mates and other flock members, frequently preening each other. Their feet are used for gripping food. They are non-migratory birds and even tend to stay close to where they were born. Bathing is done by repeatedly hopping in and out of water.
Pin-tailed Pigeon Back
The pin-tailed green pigeon is a species of bird in the family Columbidae.
It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Fruits and berries are its main food.
Cotton Pygmy-Goose Back
The cotton pygmy goose or cotton teal is a small perching duck which breeds in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Southeast Asia and south to Queensland.
Found on all still freshwater lakes, 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. Swift on the wing, and can dive creditably on occasion. However numbers are declining and it is definitely endangered.
Its food is chiefly seeds and vegetable matter, especially water lilies; also insects, crustaceans, etc.
Its nest is a natural hollow in a tree-trunk standing in or near water, sometimes lined with grass, rubbish and feathers. It lays 6 to 12 eggs, which are ivory white.
Fulvous Whistling-Duck Back
The fulvous whistling duck or fulvous tree duck is a whistling duck that breeds across the world's tropical regions in much of Mexico and South America, the West Indies, the southern US, sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian subcontinent.
The fulvous whistling duck is found in lowland marshes and swamps in open, flat country, and it avoids wooded areas. It is particularly attracted to wetlands with plenty of emergent vegetation, including rice fields.
This species is usually found in small groups, although substantial flocks can form at favored sites. It walks well, without waddling, and although it normally feeds by upending, it can dive if necessary.
The fulvous whistling duck feeds in wetlands by day or night, often in mixed flocks with relatives such as white-faced or black-bellied whistling ducks. Its food is generally plant material, including seeds, bulbs, grasses and stems, but females may include animal items such as aquatic worms, mollusks and insects as they prepare for egg-laying, which may then comprise up to 4% of their diet. Ducklings may also eat a few insects. Foraging is by picking plant items while walking or swimming, by upending, or occasionally by diving to a depth of up to 1 m.
The Fulvous Whistling-Duck is a frequent nest parasite, laying eggs in other Fulvous Whistling-Duck nests, as well as the nests of other duck species. These other duck species often lay their eggs in Fulvous Whistling-Duck nests as well.
Purple Swamphen Back
The Purple Swamphen (Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand) frequents the marshes with sedges, where flood and dryness alternate. The birds reach coastal lagoons and rivers where they spend the late summer and the autumn, until the new flood of the marshes with rains and the rising of water level.
The Purple Swamphen does not perform long distance migrations, but some seasonal movements are observed in response to the changes of water level and habitat conditions.
The diet of the Purple Swamphen includes the soft shoots of reeds and rushes and small animals, such as frogs and snails. However, it is a reputed egg stealer and will also eat ducklings when it can catch them. The Purple Swamphen uses its long toes to grasp food while eating.
Purple Swamphens are generally found in small groups and studies have shown that these consist of more males than females. More than one male will mate with a single female. All family members, and occasionally the young from a previous brood, share in incubation and care of the young. The nest consists of a platform of trampled reeds with the surrounding vegetation sometimes being used to form a shelter. Often two broods will be raised in a year.
Western Cattle Egret Back
The cattle egret is a cosmopolitan species of heron found in the tropics, subtropics and warm temperate zones. Despite the similarities in plumage to the egrets, it is more closely related to the herons.
Originally native to parts of Asia, Africa and Europe, it has undergone a rapid expansion in its distribution and successfully colonized much of the rest of the world in the last century. The cattle egret has undergone one of the most rapid and wide reaching natural expansions of any bird species.
It nests in colonies, usually near bodies of water and often with other wading birds. The nest is a platform of sticks in trees or shrubs. Cattle egrets exploit drier and open habitats more than other heron species.
Their feeding habitats include seasonally inundated grasslands, pastures, farmlands, wetlands and rice paddies. They often accompany cattle or other large mammals, catching insect and small vertebrate prey disturbed by these animals. Some populations of the cattle egret are migratory and others show post-breeding dispersal.
The massive and rapid expansion of the cattle egret's range is due to its relationship with humans and their domesticated animals. Originally adapted to a commensal relationship with large grazing and browsing animals, it was easily able to switch to domesticated cattle and horses. As the keeping of livestock spread throughout the world, the cattle egret was able to occupy otherwise empty niches. Elsewhere in the world, it forages alongside camels, ostriches, rhinos, and tortoises—as well as farmers’ tractors.
The cattle egret feeds on a wide range of prey, particularly insects, especially grasshoppers, crickets, flies (adults and maggots), and moths, as well as spiders, frogs, and earthworms. The cattle egret removes ticks and flies from cattle and consumes them. This benefits both species, but it has been implicated in the spread of tick-borne animal diseases.
The adult cattle egret has few predators, but birds or mammals may raid its nests, and chicks may be lost to starvation, calcium deficiency or disturbance from other large birds.
Little Cormorant Back
The little cormorant is a member of the cormorant family of seabirds.
It is widely distributed across the Indian Subcontinent and extends east to Java, where it is sometimes called the Javanese cormorant.
It forages singly or sometimes in loose groups in lowland freshwater bodies, including small ponds, large lakes, streams and sometimes coastal estuaries. Like other cormorants, it is often found perched on a waterside rock with its wings spread out after coming out of the water.
Little cormorants tend to forage mainly in small loose groups and are often seen foraging alone. They swim underwater to capture their prey, mainly fish.
Gray-headed Lapwing Back
The grey-headed lapwing is a lapwing species which breeds in northeast China and Japan. The mainland population winters in northern Southeast Asia from northeastern India to Cambodia.
Lapwings feed on terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates, taking adult and larval insects, worms, crustaceans, mollusks and worms. Occasionally they will eat berries.
Lapwings have graceful courtship displays both on the ground and in the air. They run, fan their tails, then bow and curtsey to their prospective mate. They can hover, drop suddenly, twist and turn. The male prepares several nests, which are little more than a few scrapes on the ground, and the female chooses between them, laying usually four large eggs.
Females must be in good condition before laying, as they use at least 50 percent of their body weight in producing the eggs. Both parents share the task of incubation, and after about a month the eggs hatch. Living on the ground is obviously dangerous, which is probably one reason why the eggs are so large, since it means the chicks are large when they hatch. They develop quickly and fledge after 20-40 days. Despite their rapid development, the risk of nesting on the ground remains high, so eggs and chicks are well camouflaged.
The parents also have a clever trick: if they spot a predator near the nest, they stagger away with a wing dragging along the ground as if broken, which lures predators away from the nest.
Black-winged Kite Back
The black-winged kite is a small diurnal bird of prey in the family Accipitridae best known for its habit of hovering over open grasslands in the manner of the much smaller kestrels.
Their prey includes grasshoppers, crickets and other large insects, lizards and rodents. Injured birds, small snakes and frogs have also been reported. The black-winged kite flies slowly during hunting like a harrier, but it will also hover like a Kestrel. It has on rare occasions been known to hunt prey in flight. Perches are used for hunting and for feeding but large prey may sometimes be handled on the ground.
Courtship is noisy and involves chases and once the pair is formed they copulate frequently.The nest is a loose platform of twigs in which 3 or 4 eggs are laid. The female spends more effort in the construction of the nest than the male. The eggs are pale creamy with spots of deep red. Both parents incubate but when the chicks hatch, the male spends more time on foraging for food. Females initially feed the young, sometimes hunting close to the nest but will also receive food from the male. After fledging the young birds continue to be dependent for food on the male parent for about 80 days, initially transferring food at perch and later in the air.
Paddyfield Pippit Back
The paddyfield pipit, or Oriental pipit, is a small passerine bird in the pipit and wagtail family. It is a resident breeder in open scrub, grassland and cultivation in southern Asia east to the Philippines.
Although among the few breeding pipits in the Asian region, identification becomes difficult in winter when several other species migrate into the region. The taxonomy of the species is complex and has undergone considerable changes.
A widespread species found in open habitats, especially short grassland and cultivation with open bare ground. It runs rapidly on the ground, and when flushed, does not fly far. It feeds principally on small insects but consumes larger beetles, tiny snails, worms etc. while walking on the ground, and may pursue insects like mosquitoes or termites in the air.
The paddyfield pipit breeds throughout the year but mainly in the dry season. Birds may have two or more broods in a year.
Black-winged Stilt Back
The black-winged stilt, common stilt, or pied stilt is a widely distributed very long-legged wader in the avocet and stilt family. The taxonomy of this bird is still somewhat contentious. Some describe as many as five distinct species; others consider some or all of these to be subspecies.
The black-winged stilt is widespread and occurs across Asia, Africa, Europe and the United States.
The long, distinctive red legs of the black-winged stilt account for nearly 60 percent of its height.
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. Outside of the breeding season the black-winged stilt is a social species and can be found in groups of up to 1,000.
Black-winged Stilts prefer freshwater and saltwater marshes, mudflats, and the shallow edges of lakes and rivers.
They feed mainly on aquatic insects, but will also take molluscs and crustaceans. They rarely swim for food, preferring instead to wade in shallow water, and seize prey on or near the surface. Occasionally, birds plunge their heads below the surface to catch sub-aquatic prey.
As with other activities, Black-winged Stilts nest in small colonies; within these, the mated pairs strongly defend their individual territories. The nest may be anything from a simple shallow scrape on the ground to a mound of vegetation placed in or near the water. Both sexes incubate the eggs and look after the young.
The watercock is a waterbird in the rail and crake family, Rallidae.
Their habitat is reed beds, wetlands, marshes, swamps, flooded pasture, flooded meadows, irrigated lands and flooded agricultural fields across south Asia from India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka to south China, Korea, Japan, Philippines and Indonesia.
The water cock is troublesome in rice fields, where it likes to nest. It is hunted for its flesh and its eggs.
The body of this rail is flattened laterally to allow easier passage through the reeds or undergrowth. It has long toes and a short tail.
The watercock species feed on small fish, invertebrates, aquatic insects, terrestrial insects, worms and mollusks. They probe with their bill in mud or shallow water for food, also picking up food by sight. They also forage on the ground feeding vegetable matters like seeds, grass, shoots and berries.
Watercock are quite secretive, but are sometimes seen out in the open. They are noisy birds, especially at dawn and dusk, with a loud, gulping call.
They nest in a dry location on the ground in marsh vegetation, laying 3-6 eggs. These large rails are mainly permanent residents throughout their range.
Burmese Spot-billed Duck Back
The spot-billed duck or spotbill, is a dabbling duck which breeds in tropical and eastern Asia.
This duck is resident in the southern part of its range from Pakistan and India to southern Japan.
Both males and females undergo a complete postnuptial moult, dropping all their wing feathers simultaneously.
They inhabit both inland and coastal wetlands such as ponds, lakes, pools, streams, creeks, estuaries, tidal flats and marshes.
It is a bird of freshwater lakes and marshes in fairly open country and feeds by dabbling for plant food mainly in the evening or at night. Sometimes they may feed on insects.
It nests on the ground in vegetation near water, and lays 8-14 eggs. Incubation begins after the last egg is laid (allowing the chicks to hatch simultaneously) and the young hatch after about 24 days.
Chinese Francolin Back
The Chinese francolin or Burmese francolin is a species of game bird in the Phasianidae family.
This species is found in Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests and subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.
Blue-tailed Bee-eater Back
The blue-tailed bee-eater is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family Meropidae. These bee-eater species are distributed in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, China, Sri Lanka and southeast Asian countries.
This is a bird which breeds in sub-tropical open country, such as farmland, parks or ricefields. It is most often seen near large waterbodies. Like other bee-eaters it predominantly eats insects, especially bees, wasps and hornets, which are caught in the air by sorties from an open perch. This species probably takes bees and dragonflies in roughly equal numbers. The insects that are caught are beaten on the perch to kill and break the exoskeleton. This habit is seen in many other members of the coraciiformes order.
These bee-eaters are gregarious, nesting colonially in sandy banks or open flat areas. They make a relatively long tunnel in which the 5 to 7 spherical white eggs are laid. Both the male and the female take care of the eggs. These birds also feed and roost communally.
Blue-throated Bee-eater Back
The blue-throated bee-eater is a species of bird in the family Meropidae. It is found in Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical mangrove forests. They also occur in secondary forests, scrubs, old plantations and parklands.
Blue-throated bee-eaters nest communally and excavate nest burrows in sandy banks, quarry faces and man-made sand piles.
Bee-eaters are insectivorous, feeding on a variety of insects such as bees, ants, dragonflies, beetles, and flies. They are known to look out for insects from a vantage point such as bare branches, swooping down and catching the prey while in flight. Smaller insects are eaten on the wing, while dangerous prey are branch-swiped and have their stings removed by rubbing them on a perch before being consumed. The bird occasionally catches small lizards and fishes.
Jungle Myna Back
The jungle myna is a myna, a member of the starling family.
This bird is a common resident breeder in tropical southern Asia from Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Burma east to Indonesia and is typically found in forest and cultivation. They are also found close to water or rice fields.
The jungle myna builds a nest in a hole, most of the time in the hole of Palm Trees. The normal clutch is three to six eggs.
Like most starlings, the jungle myna is fairly omnivorous, eating fruit, grain and insects. In some areas, it shows a preference for grasshoppers. It has been recorded to consume figs, lantana berries and nectar. In urban areas, it readily adapts to utilize food scraps.
In many parts of Asia, they are kept as pets. As a result, escaped birds have formed feral populations in many countries.
In Fiji e.g., the species occasionally causes significant damage to crops of groundnuts, with crop losses of up to 40% recorded. Within its native range (South India), it is not a well-documented pest, but occasionally causes considerable damage to fruit orchards.
Streak-eared Bulbul Back
The streak-eared bulbul is a member of the bulbul family of passerine birds. It is found from Thailand and northern and central Malay Peninsula to southern Indochina. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.
The streak-eared bulbul was originally described in the genus Criniger. Until 2016, the streak-eared bulbul was considered to be conspecific with the Irrawaddy bulbul while still using the name 'streak-eared bulbul'.
Experts from (WCS) Wildlife Conservation Society and the National University of Singapore (NUS) have made a surprising discovery that could subvert the significance of traditional criteria used for species classification.
Employing novel techniques to retrieve DNA sequences from thousands of genomic locations, the researchers were able to uncover an unusual case of cryptic speciation in the Streak-eared bulbul. Cryptic speciation produces closely related sister species that are very similar in appearance and often overlooked by scientists until genetic and/or bioacoustic inquiries reveal species-level differences.
After careful examination, two described subspecies of Streak-eared bulbul resident in Myanmar [P. b. blanfordi] and Thailand/Indochina [P. b. conradi] were found to exhibit deep genome-wide differentiation indicating they are two separate species. Despite negligible nuances in the birds’ plumage color, and limited differentiation in their vocalizations, WCS and NUS ornithologists identified a surprising genetic divergence dating back as far as the early Pleistocene.
A closer look also revealed different eye colors between the two forms, which the scientists believe to be an important morphological differentiating trait in mate recognition and reproductive isolation, prompting them to call for an elevation of both forms to species level, and naming the one specific to Myanmar “Ayeyawady bulbul”.
Baya Weaver Back
The baya weaver is a weaverbird found across the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Flocks of these birds are found in grasslands, cultivated areas, scrub and secondary growth. They are widespread and common within their range but are prone to local, seasonal movements mainly in response to rain and food availability.
They are best known for their hanging retort shaped nests woven from leaves, constructed by the males. The nest colonies are usually found on thorny trees or palm fronds and the nests are often built near water or hanging over water where predators cannot reach easily. The pendulous nests are retort-shaped, with a central nesting chamber and a long vertical tube that leads to a side entrance to the chamber. The nests are woven with long strips of paddy leaves, rough grasses and long strips torn from palm fronds. Each strip can be between 20 and 60 cm in length. A male bird is known to make up to 500 trips to complete a nest, ending up doing about 3500 stitches" in the whole process.
The construction process start with forming the "Helmet". For this exercise the male decides on its location and anchorage point, then proceed alone in getting the "foundation" ready. With its completion, the male would then seek its mate. Upon successful acquisition, the female bird would join the male bird but remain inside while the male would start bringing more materials to prepare the floors and the chambers. This process done jointly, the male would be responsible for the outer wall of the chamber and the female preparing a suitable nest within the chamber.
The nest, being suspended from thorny trees and overhanging water, is protected from many predators, but nest predation by crows is not unusual. Brood may also be destroyed by lizards or rodents which may take over the nest. Nests may sometimes be taken over and used for nesting by munias and Indian silverbills.
Both males and females are polygamous. Males build many partial nests and begin courting females. The male finishes the nest only after finding a mate.
Baya weavers are social and gregarious birds. They forage in flocks for seeds, both on the plants and on the ground. Flocks fly in close formations, often performing complicated maneuvers. They are known to glean paddy and other grain in harvested fields, and occasionally damage ripening crops and are therefore sometimes considered as pests.
A widespread folk belief in India is that the baya sticks fireflies with mud to the nest walls to light up the interior of the nest at night. In earlier times, the baya weaver was trained by street performers in India for entertainment. They could pick up objects at the command of their trainers. They were trained to fire toy cannons, string beads, pick up coins and other objects.
White-breasted Waterhen Back
The white-breasted waterhen is a waterbird of the rail and crake family that is widely distributed across Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent.
These birds are usually seen singly or in pairs as they forage slowly along the edge of a waterbody mainly on the ground but sometimes clambering up low vegetation. The tail is held up and jerked as they walk. They probe with their bill in mud or shallow water, also picking up food by sight. They mainly eat insects (large numbers of beetles have been recorded), small fish (which are often carefully washed in water), aquatic invertebrates and grains or seeds.
Many rails are very secretive, but white-breasted waterhens are often seen out in the open. This species is described as being very noisy during the breeding season, producing a loud call consisting of various grunts, roars, quacks and chuckles.
Little Grebe Back
The little grebe, also known as dabchick, is a member of the grebe family of water birds.
From a distance, little grebes appear to be all black but through binoculars and in good light, you can make out a chestnut brown patch on the throat and side of the neck.
This bird breeds in small colonies in heavily vegetated areas of freshwater lakes across Europe, much of Asia down to New Guinea, and most of Africa.
The little grebe is an excellent swimmer and diver and pursues its fish and aquatic invertebrate prey underwater. It uses the vegetation skillfully as a hiding place.
Like all grebes, it nests at the water's edge, since its legs are set very far back and it cannot walk well. Usually four to seven eggs are laid. When the adult bird leaves the nest it usually takes care to cover the eggs with weeds. This makes it less likely to be detected by predators. The young leave the nest and can swim soon after hatching, and chicks are often carried on the backs of the swimming adults.
Sooty-headed Bulbul Back
The sooty-headed bulbul is a species of songbird in the bulbul family, Pycnonotidae. It is found in south-eastern Asia. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.
Black-headed Greenfinch Back
The black-headed greenfinch is a small passerine bird in the Fringillidae family.
It is found in the Chinese province of Yunnan, northern Laos, eastern Myanmar and adjacent areas of Vietnam, Thailand and Northeast India. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests and subtropical or tropical dry shrubland.
Streak-throated Woodpecker Back
The streak-throated woodpecker is a species of woodpecker found in the Indian subcontinent.
A medium-sized, green woodpecker with streaked throat and scaly whitish underparts. Green above with yellowish rump, white supercilia and white and black moustache. Crown red in male, blackish in female. Tail dark and plain. Small, dark bill.
Puff-throated Bulbul Back
The puff-throated bulbul is a species of songbird in the bulbul family. It is found in Southeast Asia. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.
The puff-throated bulbul is a regular but not an obligate cooperative breeder. Groups can comprise one or more breeding pairs and breed either cooperatively or non-cooperatively. In cases of multiple breeding pairs in a single territory, the pairs nest separately. The female builds the nest and incubates and broods the young. Males and helpers aid in feeding the nestlings and fledglings. Nests are open cups typically located in the understory.
Oriental White-eye Back
The Oriental white-eye is a small passerine bird in the white-eye family. It is a resident breeder in open woodland in tropical Asia, east from the Indian subcontinent to Southeast Asia, extending to Indonesia and Malaysia. The species is found in a wide range of habitats from scrub to moist forest. They sometimes occur on mangrove areas
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.
Although not strong fliers, they are capable of dispersing in winds and storms to new areas including offshore islands.
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. The compact cup nest is a placed like a hammock on the fork of a branch. The nest is made of cobwebs, lichens and plant fiber. The nest is built in about 4 days and the two pale blue eggs are laid within a couple of days of each other. The eggs hatch in about 10 days. Both sexes take care of brooding the chicks which fledge in about 10 days. They sometimes steal nest material from the nests of other birds. Cases of interspecific feeding have been noted with white-eyes feeding the chicks of a paradise flycatcher.
Though mainly insectivorous, the Oriental white-eye will also eat nectar and fruits of various kinds.
They call frequently as they forage and the usual contact call is a soft nasal cheer. They pollinate flowers when they visit them for flower insects and possibly nectar. The forehead is sometimes colored by pollen leading to mistaken identifications. They have been observed bathing in dew accumulated on leaves.
Pied Harrier Back
The pied harrier is an Asian species of bird of prey in the family Accipitridae. It is migratory, breeding from eastern Russia to North Korea. Wintering individuals can be found in a wide area from Pakistan to Philippines. The population consists of approximately 10,000 individuals and the number is thought to be in moderate decline.
The pied harrier is strongly sexually dimorphic, with adult females being larger than males, and with both sexes showing strong plumage color differences. This difference in plumage color and pattern indicates that females choose their mates based on their plumage pattern, at least in part.
It nests in steppes and associated wetlands. Wintering individuals are often seen hunting above rice paddies and marshes.
When hunting, harriers fly low over open fields and grasslands with wings angled up into a "V" shape, typically referred to as a dihedral shape.
In their winter quarters the main food source is frogs, taken in rice fields. In spring they take mainly small mammals, but also frogs, lizards, ground birds and insects; in summer more birds, up to the size of magpies or crows, but in general fewer birds than some other harriers. Burmese-breeding birds apparently feed largely on insects and frogs, and only rarely on birds.
Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Back
The bar-winged flycatcher-shrike is a small passerine bird formerly placed in the cuckooshrike family but probably closer to the woodshrikes. It is found in the forests of tropical southern Asia from the Himalayas and hills of southern India to Indonesia.
This bird catches insects by gleaning foliage and making aerial sallies for flushed insects. It will associate with other small birds such as babblers, velvet-fronted nuthatch and white-eyes in feeding flocks. They move through the forest and rarely stick to a particular location.
The nesting season in Sri Lanka is mainly from February to August, March to May in India. The nest is a neat cup with rim held stiff by cobwebs binding it and the inside is lined with fine grass and fibre. Lichens cover the surface of the nest cup which is placed on the horizontal surface of a dry branch, often close to the tip of a dead branch or on a leafless tree making it appear like a knot in the wood. The usual clutch is 2 or 3 eggs which are pale greenish white and blotched with black and grey. The bird sitting at the nest appears as if it is casually perched. Both males and females incubate. The chicks at nest stay still with eyes closed and face the center of the nest while holding their bills high giving the appearance of a broken branch.
They have been said to be sensitive to forest degradation but some studies note that they are less sensitive and capable of persisting even in considerably disturbed forests.
Lesser Whistling-Duck Back
The lesser whistling duck, also known as Indian whistling duck or lesser whistling teal, is a species of whistling duck that breeds in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
They are found in freshwater wetlands with good vegetation cover and often rest during the day on the banks or even on the open sea in coastal areas. 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 mollusks and worms. They dabble as well as dive in water. They will often waddle on the land and Common mynas have been noted to follow them on grass.
They may be seen often perching on trees near water bodies, giving rise to the alternate name Tree Duck.
Local names like sili and silhahi in India are based on their wheezy two-note calls. They become very tame in captivity, walking about and responding to whistles.