Melanistic and Common Leopard Pair

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On August 15, 2010, we were in the Nilgiris, in search of a leopard that had killed a porcupine the previous day. It was raining heavily in the morning, but stopped around 3 PM. As the rain stopped, we noticed something black on top of a hill and we cautiously approached it. We climbed about 500 feet of the hill, but the animal had vanished by the time we reached the top. We waited for sometime and a common leopard … Read More

Unusual Bedfellows: Long-billed Vulture and Tiger!

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It was a peak summer morning in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in May 2009 and the resident tigress and two of her female cubs were cooling off in the water at the Rajbehra Dam. Suddenly, one of the tigresses noticed something on a rock at the corner and both the sisters went off to investigate. They reappeared shortly, following a juvenile long-billed vulture, which seemed to have lost its way from its nest and incapacitated in some way. Threatened by the … Read More

Wild Boar on Leopard’s Kill, Ranthambore

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Would you walk away from a tiger lying 10 feet in front of you? Well, I did and only for the lure of that elusive, enigmatic predator – the leopard. We were at Ranthambore, face to face with a handsome male tiger (T6 aka Romeo) when our guide Hemraj suggested that we head off to a nearby waterhole to wait at a leopard’s spotted deer kill. The reluctance was momentary, the chance of a leopard on a kill was too … Read More

Yellow-Throated Bulbul

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The Yellow-throated Bulbul (Pycnonotus xantholaemus) is a species of bulbul endemic to southern peninsular India. The species is included in the Vulnerable (Vu) category of the Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2006). They are found on scrub habitats on steep, rocky hills many of which are threatened by granite quarrying, forest fires and grazing. It is confusable only with the White-browed Bulbul with which its range overlaps but is distinctively yellow on the head and throat apart from … Read More

A Satyr Tragopan From Neora Valley, North Bengal

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The male Satyr Tragopan (Tragopan satyra) is easily one of the most beautiful birds in India and also one of the rarest. The Satyr Tragopan is found in the Eastern Himalayas, besides Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. It is best seen in Neora Valley National Park in North Bengal. Male Satyr’s are 68cm and are a bright crimson red with white spots. Females are smaller and less conspicuous.

Tragopans are often called “horned pheasants” because they display horn-like projections … Read More

A Dead Blue Pitta

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The Blue Pitta (Pitta cyanea) is a very rare bird in India. There have been no recent reports (and certainly no photographs) from India. Pam Rasmussen (Birds of South Asia) lists it for the South Assam Hills (North Cachar, Tripura and an old specimen from Garo Hills).

This image of a dead Blue Pitta featured in the brilliant award-winning documentary called “The Wild Meat Trail” directed by Rita Banerji and Shilpi Sharma (Dusty Foot Productions) on sale in … Read More

Rare Bird — Spot-breasted Laughing Thrush, Nagaland

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The Spot-breasted Laughing Thrush Garrulax merulinus is found in several South-east Asian countries. It is well known amongst birders for its beautiful vocalisations and extremely skulky nature. The bird is seldom seen and is known from India by very few, scanty records. The last time this bird was collected from the Indian sub-continent was in 1952. In 2007 Tanmoy Ghosh recorded this species from Changlang district in Arunachal Pradesh where he photographed a dead bird killed by locals. Following this, … Read More

ZSI Scientists Discover Bird Species from Great Nicobar Island

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Great Nicobar, July 27, 2012

A team of scientists of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) here are presently inventorizing the fauna communities of Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve (GNBR) under the man and biosphere programme of UNESCO with the sponsorship of Ministry of Environment and Forests, GoI. The GNBR is one the 17 biosphere reserves designed in India. The results of the recent survey conducted by ZSI in GNBR discovered a new species of bird Rallina (Water Rail or Crake). For … Read More

First Ever Camera Trap Photo of Striped Hyena in Bandipur Tiger Reserve

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Striped hyenas have been documented before in Mudumalai, but there have only been anecdotal reports of their presence in adjoining Bandipur. Their presence in adjacent areas inside Karnataka is only speculative.  The last two authentic evidences documenting their presence, are a road kill reported by Dr. Ullas Karanth around Nugu Wildlife Sanctuary in 1984 (observed and collected by the then ACF (Wildlife), Mysore); and another observation and a mobile phone capture by Praneet Goteti in farmlands around Bandipur (Moyar area) … Read More

Camera ‘Traps’ Black Leopards in Dandeli-Anshi

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Perhaps because they remind people of ‘Bagheera’, from Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, or perhaps because of their distinctive look, black leopards have always generated a buzz. Although they are just a genetic variant among the more common spotted form, it is usually assumed, even among many conservationists, that black leopards are a different species. Though the black form also occurs in dry forests, it tends to be more common in denser and humid forest regions (for example virtually all leopards … Read More

BPL – 123, Tale of a Leopard

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This one belies the field guides and the natural history books, which usually dismiss the leopard’s diet as “scrounging on smaller prey.” In actual fact, leopards are powerful predators that routinely kill fairly hefty prey such as spotted deer and sambar fawns.

Even so, Vinay S Kumar’s photograph of a leopard dragging a gaur calf is not a sight you see everyday. The picture, which was taken in Karnataka’s Bandipur Tiger Reserve, shows a male leopard dragging his massive kill … Read More

Leopard With Gaur Calf Kill, Bandipur

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I had heard about this leopard with a gaur calf kill 3 days prior to making this image. The leopard was unable to carry the kill atop the tree because of its size. The kill lay vertically beneath the tree but no one saw it till the leopard got down from the tree and dragged the kill to other side of the game track. Inspite of multiple days of feeding the kill was still massive in size relative to the … Read More

Nilgiri Marten, Anamalai Tiger Reserve

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Only a handful of biologists and naturalists have had the good fortune of having sighted one of the most elusive and fascinating species of small carnivores of the Western Ghats — the Nilgiri Marten (Martes gwatkinsii). The Nilgiri Marten is a small carnivorous mammal endemic to moist and wet evergreen forests of the Western Ghats—occurring at altitudes ranging from about 150 – 2200 m. It is similar to the more commonly seen and more widely distributed Yellow-throated Marten … Read More

Red Phalarope, a Rare Vagrant for India, Tal Chhapar, Rajasthan, April 2012

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The Indian subcontinent records both Red (or Grey) Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius) and Red-necked Phalarope. Both are Arctic breeders that spend the non-breeding (winter) season at sea in the south Pacific, with the Red-necked Phalarope also in the Arabian Sea, and Red off West Africa. Red-necked Phalaropes migrate overland in Europe and Asia, and are encountered in inland wetlands, but Red Phalarope is a vagrant and occur inland only when storm-driven.

On 18 April 2012, Range Forest Officer (RFO) … Read More