Greater Coucal    Back

The greater coucal or crow pheasant is a large non-parasitic member of the cuckoo order of birds, the Cuculiformes. A widespread resident in Asia, from India, east to south China, Nepal and Indonesia. They are large, crow-like with a long tail and coppery brown wings and found in wide range of habitats from jungle to cultivation and urban gardens. They are weak fliers, and are often seen clambering about in vegetation or walking on the ground as they forage for insects, eggs and nestlings of other birds. They have a familiar deep resonant call which is associated with omens in many parts of its range.

 

The greater coucal is a large bird which takes a wide range of insects, caterpillars and small vertebrates such as the Saw-scaled vipers.They are also known to eat bird eggs, nestlings, fruits and seeds. In Tamil Nadu they were found to feed predominantly on snails Helix vittata. They are also known to feed on the toxic fruits of Cascabela thevetia (Yellow Oleander). In Oil palm cultivation, they have been noted as an avian pest due to their habit of eating the fleshy mesocarps of the ripe fruits.

 

They sunbathe in the mornings singly or in pairs on the top of vegetation with their wings spread out. The territory of a nesting pair has been found in southern India to be 0.9 to 7.2 ha (mean 3.8 ha). They are most active in the warm hours of the morning and in the late afternoon.

 

Greater coucals are monogamous and the courtship display involves chases on the ground and the male brings food gifts for the female. The female lowers her tail and droops her wings to signal acceptance. The nest is built mostly by the male over about three to eight days. The nest is a deep cup with a dome in dense vegetation inside tangles of creepers, bamboo clump or Pandanus crowns. They can be built as high as 6m above the ground and the typical clutch is 3–5 eggs.

 

The bird is associated with many superstitions and beliefs. The deep calls are associated with spirits and omens. In British India, it was noted that new-recruits to India often mistook it for a pheasant and shot it to find it "evil flavored" giving it the nickname of "Griff's pheasant".

The flesh was once eaten as a folk cure for tuberculosis and pulmonary ailments.

Asian Koel    Back

 

The Asian koel is a member of the cuckoo order of birds, the Cuculiformes. It is found in the Indian Subcontinent, China, and Southeast Asia. It forms a superspecies with the closely related black-billed and Pacific koels which are sometimes treated as subspecies.

 

The Asian koel is a brood parasite that lays its eggs in the nests of crows and other hosts, who raise its young. They are unusual among the cuckoos in being largely frugivorous as adults. The name koel is echoic in origin with several language variants. The bird is a widely used symbol in Indian poetry.

The Asian koel is a large, long-tailed, cuckoo. They are very vocal during the breeding season (March to August in the Indian Subcontinent), with a range of different calls. The familiar song of the male is a repeated koo-Ooo.

 

The Asian koel has several geographic forms that have well marked plumage differences or have been geographically isolated with little gene flow.

 

The Asian koel is a brood parasite, and lays its single egg in the nests of a variety of birds, including the jungle crow, long-tailed shrike, common myna and house crows.  In the Indian Subcontinent they have sometimes been found to parasitize the black drongo, the European magpie and possibly the black-headed oriole. Host nests at low heights and nearer to fruit trees tended to preferred by koels. 

 

Males may distract the hosts so that the female gets a chance to lay an egg in the nest. More often however, the female visits the nest of the host alone. The koel is not known to lay eggs in an empty host nest and a study in Pakistan found that the first koel eggs were laid, on average, within one and half days of the laying of the host's first egg. The chicks of the koel hatched about 3 days ahead of the host chicks. Koels usually lay only an egg or two in a single nest but as many as seven to eleven eggs have been reported from some host nests. A female may remove a host egg before laying. Eggs hatch in 12 to 14 days. The young koel does not always push out eggs or evict the host chicks, and initially calls like a crow. The young fledge in 20 to 28 days. Unlike as in some other cuckoos, the young do not attempt to kill the host chicks, a trait that is shared with the channel-billed cuckoos which are also largely frugivorous as adults. It has been suggested that koels, like some other brood parasites do not evict the host chicks due presumably due to the higher cost of evicting nestmates. A small parasite may not be able to evict large host eggs or chicks from a deep Corvid nest without risking starvation and possibly accidental self-eviction. An alternate hypothesis that retaining host chicks might benefit the koel chicks did not gain much support. Adult female parents have been known to feed young koels in the nests of the hosts, a behavior seen in some other brood parasitic species as well. Adult males have however not been noted to feed fledglings.

 

The Asian koel is omnivorous, consuming a variety of insects, caterpillars, eggs and small vertebrates. Adults feed mainly on fruit. They will sometimes defend fruiting trees that they forage in and chase away other frugivores. They have been noted to be especially important in the dispersal of the sandalwood tree in India. Large seeded fruits are sometimes quickly regurgitated near the parent tree while small seeded fruits are ingested and are likely to be deposited at greater distances from the parent tree. They have a large gape and are capable of swallowing large fruits including the hard fruit of palms. They have been known to occasionally take eggs of small birds.

They feed on the fruits of Cascabela thevetia which are known to be toxic to mammals.

 

The word "koel" is onomatopoeic in origin. The Sanskrit root is "Kokila" and the words in various Indian languages are similar. Being familiar birds with loud calls, references to them are common in folklore, myth and poetry. It is traditionally held in high regard for its song and revered in the Manusmriti, an ancient decree protecting them from harm. The Vedas, Sanskrit literature dated to about 2000 BC referred to it as Anya-Vapa which has been translated as "that which was raised by others" (or "sown for others to reap"). This has been interpreted as the earliest knowledge of brood parasitism. 

These birds were once very popular in India as cagebirds. Feeding even on boiled rice, these hardy birds lived in captivity for as long as 14 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Russet Sparrow    Back

 

The russet sparrow, also called the cinnamon or cinnamon tree sparrow, is a passerine bird of the sparrow family Passeridae. A chunky little seed-eating bird with a thick bill, it has a body length of 14 to 15 cm. Its plumage is mainly warm-rufous above and grey below. It exhibits sexual dimorphism, with the plumage of both sexes patterned similarly to that of the corresponding sex of house sparrow. Its vocalizations are sweet and musical chirps, which when strung together form a song.

 

This sparrow feeds mainly on the seeds of herbs and grains, but it also eats berries and insects, particularly during the breeding season. This diet makes it a minor pest in agricultural areas, but also a predator of insect pests. While breeding, it is not social, as its nests are dispersed. It forms flocks when not breeding, although it associates with other bird species infrequently. In some parts of its range, the russet sparrow migrates, at least to lower altitudes. Its nest is located in a tree cavity, or a hole in a cliff or building. The male chooses the nest site before finding a mate and uses the nest for courtship display. The typical clutch contains five or six whitish eggs. Both sexes incubate and feed the young.

 

The russet sparrow is found in parts of eastern Asia and in the Himalayas. The russet sparrow appears to be abundant in most habitats across most of its very large range and in the some areas it is among the most common birds.In Southeast Asia, its range has contracted at lower elevations due to global warming, but it has also moved higher at high elevations and it remains common. In the Himalayas, it is strongly associated with terrace cultivation, and it probably only spread to the Himalayas when these agricultural practices arrived 3000 to 4000 years ago.

 

In many aspects of its behavior, the russet sparrow is similar to the house and Eurasian tree sparrows. Like them, it feeds on the ground, but spends most of its time perching on branches. Unlike those species, it prefers open, exposed branches for perching.

Outside its breeding season, the russet sparrow is gregarious and forms flocks to find food, though it infrequently associates with other birds. Wintering flocks tend to keep away from human habitation. The russet sparrow is also social at night during the winter, and it forms large communal roosts in trees and bushes. In the breeding season, the female roosts in the nests and the male nests in foliage nearby.

 

 

 

 

Grey-breasted Prinia    Back

 

The grey-breasted prinia or Franklin's prinia is a wren-warbler belonging to the family of small passerine birds found mainly in warmer southern regions of the Old World.

This skulking passerine bird is typically found in open woodland, scrub jungle, bushes and hedgerows amidst cultivation. Also found in bamboo jungle, mangrove swamps and reeds.  It is a common resident of the Indian peninsula. It migrates slightly south during winter. The distribution extends from Himalayan foothills to Southern India and to Pakistan, Burma, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Yunnan province in southern China.

 

Like most warblers, grey-breasted prinias are insectivorous. They feed mainly on insects like ants, small beetles, caterpillars which are found among twigs and foliage of small trees. They also feeds on nectar from blossoms of trees like Erythrina and Bombax and during summer their forehead is sometimes sprinkled with pollen giving them an orange or yellowish head that can lead to mistaken identification.

Usually found in pairs or small groups, they sometimes forms parties of five or more (up to twenty) individuals. It jerks its tail as it flits between branches.

 

The breeding season begins with the rains. The male sings from a high perch and also performs aerobatic maneuvers with rising and falling before diving with song notes. The nest is a cup of grass placed between leaves that are sewn together with cobwebs and resembles the nest of a common tailorbird but tends to be placed closer to the ground. The typical clutch consists of three or four eggs. Both parents incubate the eggs which hatch after about ten to eleven days. More than one brood may be raised in a season.

 

 

 

 

Red-billed Malkoha     Back

The red-billed malkoha is a species of cuckoo in the Cuculidae family. It is found in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical dry forests.

 

Malkohas are large birds with slender bodies, long tail and short legs. They make up one more group of birds whose feet are zygodactyl, i.e. the two inner toes pointed forward and the two outer backward. They are forest birds but mostly stay at the forest edge or even open country. Most of them feed on insects but prefer hairy caterpillars, a food normally avoided by most birds. 

 

Most Malkohas are described as shy and restless but sprightly dwellers who prefers tall forest canopy. Because of their relatively large size, they can be spotted easily. They do not take flight. Silently they make themselves less conspicuous. But all Malkohas cleverly thread their movements through tangled twigs, creepers and foliage. That classic trait makes Malkohas known for behaving in a squirrel like manner along branches and trying to hide among the thick vegetation.

Overall their action can be described as slow. Then with rounded wings, they are not strong flier. They rather hop from branch to branch until they reach the top of a tree. From a vantage point, they will glide slowly and directly to another point, usually a short distances. While doing so the wings produce a soft hum. They are particularly active in the morning and early afternoon.

 

Unlike the famed Cuckoo's breeding habit, Malkohas have their own nest. A very basic and simple patch of twigs and leaves. The young are taken care of by both parents. The young leave the nest before they can fly. Perhaps this is where they acquired a skill and habit of creeping along branches.

The Malkohas really make many bird watcher happy as their presence is an assurance of good bird life in the area. They are large and therefore very easy to spot and ID. Except for the Raffles that emits rather faint calls, otherwise Malkohas are quite birds, surreptitiously moving about with being sighted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blossom-headed Parakeet    Back

 

 

The blossom-headed parakeet is a parrot which is a resident breeder in northeast India eastwards into Southeast Asia. It undergoes local movements, driven mainly by the availability of the fruit and blossoms which make up its diet.

 

It has two subspecies, nominate and juneae Blossom-headed parakeet is a bird of forest and open woodland. It nests in holes in trees, laying 4-5 white eggs.

The female has a pale grey head and lacks the black neck collar and chin stripe patch. The lower mandible is pale. Immature birds have a green head and a grey chin. Both mandibles are yellowish and there is no red shoulder patch.

The different head color and the yellow tip to the tail distinguish this species from the similar plum-headed parakeet.

 

Blossom-headed parakeet is a gregarious and noisy species with range of raucous calls.

These birds thrive in the woodlands and forests and are perfectly at home being on the ground foraging for food. These birds are experts at finding fruit and seeds in their environment. They can often be seen hanging upside down or resting on buildings throughout the day. These birds are not endangered; however, loss of habitat has forced these birds to move towards urban areas.

 

Their diet consists of seeds, fruits, and blossoms. Feeding stations by locals have allowed these parrots to thrive and many birds know where to find these established stations. Many tourists will also drop bread crumbs just to watch these birds gather and eat and this has also helped to sustain these birds.

During the breeding season, these birds will branch off into pairs and find a tree nesting cavity. The female will tailor the nesting place to her liking before any eggs are laid. The male does not help to prepare the nest. Instead, he watches for intruders and feeds the hen while she is incubating her clutch of eggs.

 

 

 

 

 

Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo    Back

 

The lesser racket-tailed drongo is a species of bird in the Dicruridae family.
It is found in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia, ranging across Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos,Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.

 

In the eastern Himalayas the species can be confused with the Greater racket-tailed drongo, however the Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo has flat rackets with the crest nearly absent.

Red-billed Blue Magpie    Back

 

The red-billed blue magpie is a species of bird in the crow family, Corvidae. It is about the same size as the Eurasian magpie but has a much longer tail, one of the longest tails of any corvid.

 

The red-billed blue magpie occurs in a broad swathe from the northern parts of the Indian Subcontinent, and further eastwards. It ranges from the Western Himalayas eastwards into Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam in evergreen forest and scrub in predominantly hilly or mountainous country. They nest in trees and large shrubs in a relatively shallow nest. There are usually three to five eggs laid. There is a clear division of labor between the sexes: the female incubates between three and five eggs on her own, whilst the male provides food for the female and for the chicks after they’ve hatched.

 

Food is sought both in trees and on the ground. It takes the usual wide range of food, such as invertebrates, other small animals, and fruit and some seeds. It robs nests of eggs and also chicks. Vocal mimicry is very apparent in this species and its calls are very varied, but the most usual are a grating rattle and a high pitched whistle a little like a flute.

 

 

Indochinese Cuckooshrike    Back

 

The Indochinese cuckooshrike is a species of bird in the Campephagidae family. It is found in Cambodia, Laos,Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

White-tailed Robin    Back

The white-tailed robin is an Old World flycatcher in the family Muscicapidae. It ranges across the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent and adjacent areas of Southeast Asia. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.

 

The White-tailed Robin prefers dense undergrowth of moist evergreen broadleaf forest, often near running water.  It feeds on insects and berries, foraging mainly on the ground or in low foliage.  It is very secretive and appears blackish in its shady habitat, except for the white in the tail, which it constantly opens and shuts. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Collared-Dove    Back

 

The red turtle dove (Streptopelia tranquebarica), also known as the red collared dove, is a small pigeon which is a resident breeding bird in the tropics in the Indian subcontinent.
They prefer better-wooded tracts such as canal or roadside tree plantations and avoid extensive desert regions. When they first arrive they are often in small flocks, but they soon split up and start pair formation and breeding.

 

The Red Collared-Dove inhabits open country with trees, scrub and dry forests; it may also be seen at forest edges near farms and sugar cane fields.  Its diet consists of a variety of grains including rice and maize, seeds of grasses and herbs, buds and young leaves.  Most food is taken on the ground.  
Like many doves, this species builds a flimsy platform nest of twigs, placed usually 3-8 m. high in a tree or bush.  Usually two eggs are laid.  
 

Common Cuckoo    Back

 

The common cuckoo is a member of the cuckoo order of birds, Cuculiformes, which includes the roadrunners, the anis and the coucals.

This species is a widespread summer migrant to Europe and Asia, and winters in Africa.

 

It is a brood parasite, which means it lays eggs in the nests of other bird species. Although its eggs are larger than those of its hosts, the eggs in each type of host nest resemble the host's eggs. The adult too is a mimic, in its case of the sparrowhawk; since that species is a predator, the mimicry gives the female time to lay her eggs without being seen to do so.

A study using stuffed bird models found that small birds are less likely to approach common cuckoos that have barred underparts similar to the Eurasian sparrowhawk, a predatory bird. Eurasian reed warblers were found more aggressive to cuckoos that looked less hawk-like, meaning that the resemblance to the hawk helps the cuckoo to access the nests of potential hosts.

 

The common cuckoo's diet consists of insects, with hairy caterpillars, which are distasteful to many birds, being a specialty of preference. It also occasionally eats eggs and chicks.

 

The common cuckoo is a brood parasite; it lays its eggs in the nests of other birds. At the appropriate moment, the hen cuckoo flies down to the host's nest, pushes one egg out of the nest, lays an egg and flies off. The whole process takes about 10 seconds. A female may visit up to 50 nests during a breeding season. Common cuckoos first breed at the age of two years.

 

Research has shown that the female common cuckoo is able to keep its egg inside its body for an extra 24 hours before laying it in a host's nest. This means the cuckoo chick can hatch before the host's chicks do, and it can eject the unhatched eggs from the nest. Scientists incubated common cuckoo eggs for 24 hours at the bird's body temperature of 40 °C (104 °F), and examined the embryos, which were found "much more advanced" than those of other species studied. The idea of 'internal incubation' was first put forward in 1802 and 18th and 19th Century egg collectors had reported finding that cuckoo embryos were more advanced than those of the host species.

 

The naked, altricial chick hatches after 11–13 days. It methodically evicts all host progeny from host nests. It is a much larger bird than its hosts, and needs to monopolize the food supplied by the parents. The chick will roll the other eggs out of the nest by pushing them with its back over the edge. If the host's eggs hatch before the cuckoo's, the cuckoo chick will push the other chicks out of the nest in a similar way. At 14 days old, the common cuckoo chick is about three times the size of an adult Eurasian reed warbler.

 

Species whose broods are parasitized by the common cuckoo have evolved to discriminate against cuckoo eggs but not chicks. Experiments have shown that common cuckoo chicks persuade their host parents to feed them by making a rapid begging call that sounds "remarkably like a whole brood of host chicks." The researchers suggested that "the cuckoo needs vocal trickery to stimulate adequate care to compensate for the fact that it presents a visual stimulus of just one gape. However, a cuckoo chick needs the amount of food of a whole brood of host nestlings, and it struggles to elicit that much from the host parents with only the vocal stimulus. This may reflect a tradeoff—the cuckoo chick benefits from eviction by receiving all the food provided, but faces a cost in being the only one influencing feeding rate. For this reason, cuckoo chicks exploit host parental care by remaining with the host parent longer than host chicks do, both before and after fledging.

 

 

Olive-backed Sunbird    Back

 

The olive-backed sunbird  is a species of sunbird found from Southern Asia to Australia. Highly adaptable, they are the most common Sunbird and are found almost everywhere except the deepest forest. The sunbirds are a group of very small Old World passerine birds which feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Their flight is fast and direct on their short wings.

 

Although it is said that they cannot hover like true hummingbirds (which are found only in tropical Americas), Sunbirds can hover briefly. But they do prefer to cling to a nearby stem or vegetation as they sip nectar. They may "steal" the nectar by piercing through the base of the flower than going through the front of the flower (thus avoiding payment of pollinating services in exchange for the nectar reward).

Their nectar extraction equipment include: a long, slender, curved bill with fine serration along the margins of both mandibles; and a tubular, deeply cleft tongue. Males are particularly territorial and may defend a good feeding site from other Sunbirds.

 

Originally from mangrove habitat, the olive-backed sunbird has adapted well to humans, and is now common even in fairly densely populated areas, even forming their nests in human dwellings. Enchanting is stumbling across its strange, suspended nest, hanging from a twig or part of a building by a long, thin cord of grass and fibres. Sunbirds are often rather confiding when nesting in people’s gardens, allowing a close approach if you are quiet.

 

The birds mate between the months of April and August in the Northern Hemisphere, and between August and January in the Southern Hemisphere. Both the male and the female assist in building the nest which is flask-shaped, with an overhanging porch at the entrance, and a trail of hanging material at the bottom end.

After building the nest, the birds abandon the nest for about a week before the female returns to lay one or two greenish-blue eggs. The eggs take a further week to hatch. The female may leave the nest for short periods during the day during incubation. After the chicks have hatched, both male and female assist in the care of the young, which leave the nest about two or three weeks later.

Large Cuckooshrike    Back
 
The large cuckooshrike  is a species of cuckooshrike found in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
 
They are mostly insectivorous and usually fly just above the forest canopy. They have a loud call klu-eep and have a characteristic habit of shrugging their closed wings shortly after landing on a perch.​

Banded Bay Cuckoo     Back

The banded bay cuckoo or bay-banded cuckoo is a species of small cuckoo found in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Like others in the genus they have a round nostril. They are usually founded in well wooded areas mainly in the lower hills. Males sing from exposed branches during the breeding season, which can vary with region.

Although it is said that they cannot hover like true hummingbirds (which are found only in tropical Americas), Sunbirds can hover briefly. But they do prefer to cling to a nearby stem or vegetation as they sip nectar. They may "steal" the nectar by piercing through the base of the flower than going through the front of the flower (thus avoiding payment of pollinating services in exchange for the nectar reward).

Their nectar extraction equipment include: a long, slender, curved bill with fine serration along the margins of both mandibles; and a tubular, deeply cleft tongue. Males are particularly territorial and may defend a good feeding site from other Sunbirds.

 

Originally from mangrove habitat, the olive-backed sunbird has adapted well to humans, and is now common even in fairly densely populated areas, even forming their nests in human dwellings. Enchanting is stumbling across its strange, suspended nest, hanging from a twig or part of a building by a long, thin cord of grass and fibres. Sunbirds are often rather confiding when nesting in people’s gardens, allowing a close approach if you are quiet.

 

The birds mate between the months of April and August in the Northern Hemisphere, and between August and January in the Southern Hemisphere. Both the male and the female assist in building the nest which is flask-shaped, with an overhanging porch at the entrance, and a trail of hanging material at the bottom end.

After building the nest, the birds abandon the nest for about a week before the female returns to lay one or two greenish-blue eggs. The eggs take a further week to hatch. The female may leave the nest for short periods during the day during incubation. After the chicks have hatched, both male and female assist in the care of the young, which leave the nest about two or three weeks later.

Golden-bellied Gerygone    Back

 

The golden-bellied gerygone is a species of bird in the Acanthizidae family. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical mangrove forest, including montane forest and tree-lined urban streets; also in swamp.

 

Food poorly known. Largely insectivorous. Gleans from foliage of tree crowns and middle storey, often from undersides of leaves.
Breeding season Dec–Oct in SE Asia; recorded Apr–Jun in Philippines, but singing occurs from Jan–Jun.
 

White-throated Fantail     Back

 

The white-throated fantail is a small passerine bird. It is found in forest, scrub and cultivation across tropical southern Asia from the Himalayas, India and Bangladesh east to Indonesia.

The white-throated fantail lays three eggs in a small cup nest in a tree.

The white-throated fantail is insectivorous, and often fans its tail as it moves through the undergrowth.

Gray-chinned Minivet    Back

The grey-chinned minivet is a species of bird in the Campephagidae family.

It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.The Gray-chinned Minivet prefers open forest, forest edge and secondary growth. 

 

It feeds on insects, foraging in the canopy of the forest, picking prey from the terminal foliage, and also making short flights to capture flying termites and other insects. 

 

The male and female together build a small cup nest of twigs, roots and grass stems bound with cobwebs, placed high on a branch or in the fork of a tree in the forest.  The female lays three eggs, and both sexes tend the young. 

Yellow-eyed Babbler    Back

 

The yellow-eyed babbler is a passerine bird species found in groups in open grass and scrub in south Asia.

The usual habitat is grassy or thorny scrub both in dry and wet regions as well as farmland. They are found mainly on the plains but can be found in the lower hills (1200 m).

 

Like babblers, these birds are usually seen in small groups of five to fifteen, especially in the non-breeding season. They are usually found inside bushes, emerging up to the top of a stem and then diving back into cover to forage. They feed mainly on insects but take berries as well as nectar. When capturing insects, they may hold them down with their feet.

 

They appear to nest cooperatively, the nest being a deep cone made with grass and lined with fine fiber. The nest is wedged between upright stems, the vertical stems being incorporated into the wall of the nest. The outside of the nest is well covered in cobwebs.

Birds roost communally in the centre of a bush, all facing in the same direction and sitting side by side. Members of a group will preen each other.

Dark-sided Flycatcher     Back

 

The dark-sided flycatcher is a small passerine bird. It has a wide distribution in Asia with northern birds migrating south for the winter.

It inhabits coniferous and mixed forest and woodland and is sometimes seen in plantations, parks and gardens. It typically occurs in mountainous regions, reaching 4000 meters above sea-level in some areas.

Like other flycatchers, its feeding technique is to perch on an exposed branch and wait. When an insect flies past, the bird dashes out to snatch it.

It builds a cup-shaped nest 2 to 18 metres above the ground, on the branch of a tree or sometimes in a hole. Three to five eggs are laid; these are pale green with reddish markings.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Great Iora    Back

 

The great iora is a species of bird in the Aegithinidae family. It is found in Cambodia, China, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

 

Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

Dusky Warbler    Back

 

The dusky warbler is a leaf warbler which breeds in east Asia. This warbler is strongly migratory and winters in southeast-Asia.

 

It is an abundant bird of taiga bogs and wet meadows. The nest is built low in a bush, and 5-6 eggs are laid.

Like most warblers, it is insectivorous, but will take other small food items, including berries.

Besra    Back

 

This bird is a medium-sized raptor (29 to 36 cm) with short broad wings and a long tail, both adaptations to fast maneuvering. The normal flight of this species is a characteristic "flap–flap–glide"

 

It occurs in areas of closed-canopy scrubland, dense broad-leafed and coniferous forest, and woodland. Outside the breeding season it is also found around marshes, fish ponds, mangroves, and agricultural lands

 

The bird preys on small birds, which it captures after fast dashes through the forest interior, and also on small mammals, lizards, and large insects.

 

It  builds a stick nest placed in trees. Clutch size is 4-5 white eggs with reddish-brown markings.

Eyebrowed Thrush    Back

 

The eyebrowed thrush is a member of the thrush family Turdidae.

 

It breeds in dense coniferous forest and taiga eastwards from Siberia. It is strongly migratory, wintering south to China and Southeast Asia. It is a rare vagrant to western Europe.

It nests in trees, laying 4-6 eggs in a neat nest. Migrating birds and wintering birds often form small flocks. It is omnivorous, eating a wide range of insects, earthworms and berries.

Siberian Rubythroat    Back

 

The Siberian rubythroat is a small passerine bird that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family, but is now more generally considered to be an Old World flycatcher of the family Muscicapidae. The Siberian rubythroat and similar small European species are often called chats.

 

It feeds heavily on insects, spiders, worms, and other small invertebrates, but will also eat berries and fruits. Siberian Rubythroats will occasionally attend feeders for offered fruits.

 

 

It is a migratory insectivorous species breeding in mixed coniferous forests with undergrowth in Siberia. This bird also frequents open grasslands with scattered thickets. It nests near the ground. It winters in Thailand, India and Indonesia.

 

Calliope, from classical Greek meaning beautiful-voiced, was one of the muses in Greek mythology and presided over eloquence and heroic poetry.

Oriental Honey-buzzard    Back

 

The crested honey buzzard is a bird of prey in the family Accipitridae which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as kites, eagles and harriers. This species is also known as the Oriental honey buzzard.

Despite its name, this species is not related to buzzards and is taxonomically closer to the kites.

 

It breeds in Asia from central Siberia east to Japan. It is a summer migrant to Siberia, wintering in tropical south east Asia. Elsewhere it is more-or-less resident. It is a specialist feeder, living mainly on the larvae of social bees and wasps, also eating bits of comb and honey; it will take other small insect prey such as cicadas.

 

The Crested honey buzzard breeds in woodland, and is inconspicuous except in the spring, when the mating display includes wing-clapping. The display of roller-coasting in flight and fluttering wings at the peak of the ascent are characteristic of the genus Pernis.

 

It is larger and longer winged than its western counterpart, the European honey buzzard.

It has been suggested that the similarity in plumage between juvenile Crested honey buzzard and the hawk-eagles has arisen as a partial protection against predation by larger raptors. The eagles have stronger bills and talons, and are likely to be less vulnerable than the Pernis species.

Similar mimicry is shown by the juveniles of the European honey buzzard, which resembles the common buzzard. Although the northern goshawk is capable of killing both species, it is likely to be more cautious about attacking the better protected Buteo species.

Striated Swallow    Back

 

The striated swallow is a species of swallow found in open, often hilly areas, clearings and cultivation in South and Southeast Asia to northeastern India and Taiwan.

The striated swallow breeds from April to July alone or semi-colonially with scattered nests. The nest is a retort or bottle shaped structure, made from mud pellets and lined with dried grasses and feathers. The clutch is usually four, sometimes five, white eggs except for badia, where two eggs is normal. Both sexes build the nest, and share incubation and the care of the young.

Nests are constructed in natural caves, but very often in artificial sites on bridges, in culverts and on buildings.

The striated swallow feeds low over the ground or at cliff faces on flying insects. It has a slow buoyant flight compared to barn swallow. It will feed with other swallow species.

Asian or Indian Paradise-Flycatcher    Back

 

In 2015, the Asian paradise flycatcher was split into the following three species: Indian, Blyth's and Amur paradise flycatcher.

The Indian paradise flycatcher is a medium-sized passerine bird native to Asia that is widely distributed. It is native to the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia and Myanmar.

Males have elongated central tail feathers, and a black and rufous plumage in some populations, while others have white plumage. Females are short-tailed with rufous wings and a black head.  Young males acquire long tails in their second or third year.

According to Linné’s first description Indian paradise flycatchers were only distributed in India. Later ornithologists observed this spectacular bird in other areas, and based on differences in plumage of males described several subspecies.

 

Indian paradise flycatchers Indian inhabit thick forests and well-wooded habitats and feed on insects, which they capture in the air often below a densely canopied tree. They are noisy birds uttering sharp shriek calls. They have short legs and sit very upright whilst perched prominently, like a shrike.

Sapphire Flycatcher    Back

The sapphire flycatcher is a species of bird in the family Muscicapidae. It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist evergreen broadleaf hill and montane forests. Migratory. Altitudinal migrant, moving to lower levels in winter.

 

Breeding at 2100–2800 m in Himalayas. Breeding season end Apr to Jun. Nest a large cup-shaped strucure of moss, plant fibres, lichens, fern stems and a few feathers, placed in depression.

 

Diet not well known, but includes small invertebrates and larvae. Usually solitary or in pairs, but joins mixed-species flocks in winter.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike    Back

The black-winged cuckoo-shrike or lesser grey cuckoo-shrike or dark grey cuckoo-shrike is found in South to Southeast Asia. Despite the name, they are unrelated to shrikes or cuckoos.

They breed in summer in mountains from 300–2450 meters and migrate altitudinally or south in winter.

Habitat: Breeds in deciduous and broad-leaved evergreen forest but winters in open forest, groves, singly or in pairs. They are also known to join mixed feeding parties. Their diet consists mainly of caterpillars, beetles and other bugs.

Rosy Minivet    Back

 

The rosy minivet is a species of bird in the Campephagidae family. Male is distinguished from other minivets by having deep pink/light red shade in wings and tail and female having olive /olive yellow rump as against bright yellow in other minivets. Both male and female are grey above.

 

It is found in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.

Oriental Turtle-Dove    Back

The Oriental turtle dove or rufous turtle-dove is a member of the bird family Columbidae. Both the names Oriental turtle-dove and rufous turtle-dove have been used for this species.

 

The southernmost populations are resident, but most other birds migrate south to winter in India, the Maldives, where it is the national bird, and southern Japan.

The oriental turtle-dove occupies a variety of habitats and has been found as high as 4,000 metres in Nepal. During the breeding season forest habitats are preferred, but at other times of the year this bird is often observed in cultivated fields and open areas where there are trees for shelter and a plentiful supply of seeds and grain.

 

The oriental turtle-dove forages on the ground for cereal, pine seeds, herbs and plant shoots, but it has also been observed raiding paddy fields.  Like other pigeons and doves, the oriental turtle-dove drinks frequently, consuming up to 15 percent of its body weight in water every day.

 

The male oriental turtle-dove performs a display to attract a mate, flying up in the air and then gliding back down with the wings and tail stretched outwards. After mating, a nest is constructed from twigs in a bush or tree at a height of no greater than five meters. As for all pigeons and doves, each nest usually holds 2 eggs which are incubated for 15 to 16 days. The chicks leave the nest after 15 to 17 days.

Gray-faced Buzzard    Back

 

The grey-faced buzzard is an Asian bird of prey, a medium-sized raptor.

Its area consists of many different environments; woodlands, paddy-fields, streams, and grasslands. In its breeding range, the buzzard is found in coniferous and mixed evergreen forests in mountains, at forest edges, fields, meadows, marshes, and around agricultural lands. As with most buzzards, these birds utilize rising air currents to gain altitude and cover great distances by soaring during migration.

This is one of the species that dominates the "East Asian Continental Flyway," a 7,000-km overland system extending from eastern Siberia to Southeast Asia and the Indonesian Archipelago. This species migrates in flocks, with the birds flying in lines.

 

It breeds in East Russia, North China, Korea and Japan, and winters in South-east Asia. During the breeding season the male buzzards spend up to 90% of their day perched searching for prey. Their hunting perch is usually located around 500 meters away from the nest.

They feed on frogs, crustaceans, lizards, insects, small rodents and occasionally other birds. They perch on a tree or a utility pole adjacent to an open habitat, such as rice fields, cropland, and clearings, and swoop down to capture with their feet small animals. They have adopted a search and ambush hunting method to waste less time and energy.

The birds actively change its diets to fit the foraging site of a particular season. Along with this shift, the main prey of the buzzards changes from frogs to insects. In paddy fields, frogs and small mammals are frequently captured. Insects and frogs are captured in woodland areas.

 

During the breeding season the grey faced buzzard builds a small stick nest placed in a tree. The nest is lined with grass and leaves. Clutch size is 3-4 white eggs with rusty or reddish-brown spots. The same nest is sometimes used every year until the need of reconstruction arises. Females mostly incubate eggs and nestlings. Males relieve females briefly a few times a day.

 

Historically, the greatest threat to the Grey-faced buzzard has been the uncontrolled hunting of the species.

Orange-breasted Pigeon    Back

 

The orange-breasted green pigeon is a pigeon found across tropical Asia south of the Himalaya across parts of the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. They are found in Burma, Thailand the Malay Peninsula, Vietnam, Java and Hainan.

Orange-breasted green pigeons usually occur singly or in small groups. Its flight is fast and direct, with the regular beats and an occasional sharp flick of the wings which are characteristic of pigeons in general.

They eat seeds and fruits of a wide variety of plants often joining other frugivores at fruiting figs, foraging by slowly walking along branches. They are known to feed on Strychnos nux-vomica, the fruits of which are toxic to mammals.

Males fight with each other during the breeding season, slapping each other with their wing and pecking each other. The nest is the typical flimsy platform of a few twigs in which two white eggs are laid. Both sexes incubate and eggs hatch in about 12 to 14 days.

Black Redstart    Back

 

The black redstart is a small passerine bird in the redstart genus Phoenicurus. Like its relatives, it was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family, but is now known to be an Old World flycatcher.

It is a widespread breeder in south and central Europe and Asia and northwest Africa, from Great Britain and Ireland south to Morocco, east to central China. It is resident in the milder parts of its range, but northeastern birds migrate to winter in southern and western Europe and Asia, and north Africa. It nests in crevices or holes in buildings. The species originally inhabited stony ground in mountains, particularly cliffs, but since about 1900 has expanded to include similar urban habitats including bombed areas during and after World War II, and large industrial complexes that have the bare areas and cliff-like buildings it favours.

 

It will catch passing insects in flight, and migrants often hunt in coastal tide-wrack for flies or tiny crustaceans. Its quick ducks of head and body are robin-like, and its tail is often flicked.

 

The black redstart is socially monogamous. A male pairs with a female to rear young, guards her against other males, and mates with other females.

Brown Prinia    Back

The brown prinia is a species of bird in the Cisticolidae family. It is found in mainland Southeast Asia and Java.

Dry scrubby grassland and shrubby undergrowth at forest edge, and in open clearings.

 

Food chiefly insects and their larvae. Normally feeds singly or in pairs. Forages low down or on ground among grassy or tangled vegetation.

Nest an oval dome constructed of grasses, with entrance towards top at one side, usually placed close to ground.

Red-billed Starling    Back

The red-billed starling is a species of starling in the family Sturnidae.

Open areas with scattered trees in hilly country and at low altitudes; also cultivated areas,...

Diet apparently insects and fruit. Forages in trees and on ground; not seen to associate with cattle. Occurs in large flocks.

Large-billed Crow    Back

The large-billed crow is a widespread Asian species of crow.
The overall size and body proportions vary regionally. All taxa have a relatively long bill with the upper one quite thick and arched, making it look heavy and almost raven-like.

 

Extremely versatile in its feeding, it will take food from the ground or in trees. They feed on a wide range of items and will attempt to feed on anything appearing edible, alive or dead, plant or animal. It is also one of the most persistent species and is quite bold, especially in urban areas. In Japan, crows are considered to be a pest as they rip open garbage bags and take wire coat hangers for their nests.

 

The nest is built in a fork of a tree, and is a shallow cup of sticks, sometimes neat and well made, sometimes sketchy and ragged; it is lined with grass roots, wool, rags, vegetable fiber, and similar materials. Some nests have been found to be built partly or exclusively of wire.

 

Gregarious at roosts with many thousands at some roost sites. Large flocks may be seen at dusk arriving at major roost sites. These roosts show no apparent reduction even during the breeding season, and this is because they do not breed during their first year. During the day pairs may be involved in defending their territory but at night they may roost in large groups. They have linear dominance hierarchies that are remembered based on individual recognition.

 

Many people believe that crows are clever because they store their food and interact with each other. In New Caledonia, crows are capable of making their own tools and may even be cleverer than the common chimpanzee.
If you are scared of crows, you should not approach a nest or young birds during breeding season in the spring and summer as adult crows have been known to attack if startled.
 

Greater Flameback    Back

 

The greater flameback, also known as greater goldenback, large golden-backed woodpecker or Malherbe's golden-backed woodpecker, is a woodpecker species.

It occurs widely in the Indian subcontinent, eastwards to southern China, the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, western and central Java and northeast Borneo.

 

This flameback is a species associated with fairly open forest.

Like other woodpeckers, the greater flameback uses its bill to dig out food from trees and its zygodactyl feet and stiff tail to provide support against tree trunks. The long tongue can be darted forward to extract wood-boring arthropod prey; while mainly feeding on small invertebrates, greater flamebacks will also drink nectar.

 

They nest in tree holes, laying three or four white eggs.

Purple Sunbird    Back

The purple sunbird is a small sunbird. The species is distributed widely from West Asia through the Indian subcontinent and into Southeast Asia. They are resident birds in most parts of their range and do not move large distances. They are found in thin forest and garden land, including those in dense urban areas. Habitat destruction and human activity have led to a decline in the number of trees and green spaces the purple sunbird can inhabit. This is a particular concern in India, where urbanization has increased rapidly. Destruction of suitable nesting trees has also been recorded in Iran.

 

The males appear all black except in some lighting when the purple iridescence becomes visible. Females are olive above and yellowish below.

 

Like other sunbirds they feed mainly on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. They have a fast and direct flight and can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird but often perch at the base of flowers. They are important pollinators of some plant species such as Butea monosperma, Acacia, Woodfordia and Dendrophthoe. but they sometimes steal nectar by slitting flowers such as Hamelia patens at the base. They are known to feed on small berries and cultivated grapes. Insects are sometimes caught by flycatching.

 

 

 

 

Shikra    Back

The shikra is a small bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, found widely distributed in Asia and Africa where it is also called the little banded goshawk.

The shikra is found in a range of habitats including forests, farmland and urban areas. They are usually seen singly or in pairs. The flight is typical with flaps and glides.

 

An aggressive hunter, the shikra mainly hunts from a perch, making a short dash through the branches to snatch prey from tree trunks, foliage or the ground. This forceful, surprise attack is usually sufficient to catch the lizards and small birds on which the shikra feeds, although on rare occasions it may engage in aerial pursuits. Other prey taken by this species include nestlings, eggs, bats, rodents, frogs and insects.

Small birds usually dive through foliage to avoid a shikra and a Small Blue Kingfisher has been observed diving into water to escape. Babblers have been observed to rally together to drive away a shikra.

 

Their calls are imitated by drongos and the common hawk-cuckoo resembles it in plumage.

The shikra was a favourite among falconers in India and Pakistan due to the ease with it could be trained and was frequently used to procure food for the more prized falcons.

 

With a very large global population, estimated at one million birds in 2009, and no major threats at present, there is little concern for the shikra’s survival. Indeed, this species is believed to be potentially capable of tolerating total deforestation within its habitat, and readily adapts to cultivated or urban areas.