A Finsch’s Wheatear (Oenanthe finschii), observed and photographed between 20th and 26th December 2018 near Sudasri, Desert National Park by a team of birders including Mukul Balkrishna Wasnik, Surat Singh Poonia, Manoj Sharma, C. Abhinav, Atul Jain, Sudhir Garg and Antar Singh was the first record of the species from the country. The bird had a slim black bill; white coloration of the crown continuing onto the mantle, upper back, lower back and base of the tail; black throat … Read More
The Yellow-throated Laughingthrush is a secretive species with a very limited distribution in India, mainly along the India-Myanmar border. It has been only reported from a handful places in Nagaland and Manipur in the recent past. The species is most reported from Pungro region in East Nagaland after it was originally described in May 2011.
This species was recently recorded at the Doyang reservoir in Nagaland. After spending the whole day watching the spectacular Amur Falcon congregations at Doyang … Read More
The Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) is a polytypic species (ie has several variant forms) with a distribution range covering North America, Europe, Greenland and Asia. Through this note, we would like to establish the presence of the Red-breasted Merganser in the northern part of West Bengal, by presenting photographic evidence.
On the morning of 18th December 2016, we were coming down along the river Teesta towards Gajoldoba (teesta barrage) in North Bengal. At that time I saw a bird through … Read More
I observed three Cinereous Vultures (Aegypius monachus) in the Kabini backwaters area of the Nagarahole Tiger Reserve in December 2016. They were feeding on a kill alongside Long-billed Vultures and Red-headed (King) vultures.
This is just the fourth sighting of the species in South India though it is not an uncommon bird in North and Northwest India as well as the Himalayas. Just a few weeks ago an individual was seen flying over Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu, in February … Read More
A new species of bird has been described from northeastern India and adjacent parts of China by a team of scientists from Sweden, India, China, the US, and Russia.
The bird has been named Himalayan Forest Thrush (Zoothera salimalii). The scientific name honours the great Indian ornithologist Dr Sálim Ali (1896–1987), in recognition of his huge contributions to the development of Indian ornithology and wildlife conservation. This is the first Indian bird named after Dr. Salim Ali.
Dr. Per … Read More
The Forest Owlet (Heteroglaux blewitti) is a curious bird, both by name and nature. It has captured the imagination of many within and outside the country and for the right reasons.
The forest owlet has an interesting past associated with it. Let us travel back in time to the 19th century. It was in 1872 when an Irish officer, Mr. Francis Robert Blewitt (F. R. Blewitt) saw this different looking owl near Phooljhar in eastern Madhya Pradesh (now in Chhattisgarh). … Read More
The Jeypore-Dehing Landscape is located in eastern or Upper Assam. It comprises three large blocks of forest (Jeypore, Upper Dehing West Block and Upper Dehing East Block) and several forest fragments. The reserve forests lie within a mosaic of oil and coal mining grants, tea plantations, agriculture and settlements. The forest type is lowland Assam Valley Tropical Wet Evergreen forest (Dipterocarpus-Mesua) and together stretch over roughly 600 sq km. The landscape is part of the Dehing-Patkai Elephant Reserve and 111 … Read More
White Tailed Wood Rat (Madromys blanfordi) — First Record in Purna Wildlife Sanctuary, Gujarat.
On 23th January 2015 at around 2:29 am, we were travelling from Dhulda to Mahal, passing through the Purna Wildlife Sanctuary (PWLS). The PWLS, spread over a small valley, falls in Kalibel range, situated in Dang district of South Gujarat. The area has dense forests with thick bamboo brakes and is drained by the beautiful river Purna, which gives the sanctuary its name.
As we were … Read More
With winter drawing to a close and with it the peak birding season, the weekends are spent in trips to easily accessible birding spots around Mumbai. The last Sunday of March 2016 however brought different tidings – a Red Phalarope had been spotted in Bhigwan, around 250 kms away from Mumbai. A vagrant to beat all rare vagrants!
The Red or Grey Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius) is a small wader in the Sandpiper family. It breeds in the Arctic and winters … Read More
On 11th March 2012, while looking for the threatened Great Indian Bustards in Naliya grasslands in Kutch, Ramki Sreenivasan and I came across an owl which flew from one low tree to another. The owl was well camouflaged in dense foliage of an Acacia nilotica tree, but permitted a close approach.
The owl was brownish with streaks on its breast and belly. It had extremely long ear tufts, buff brown facial disk, black band down the face between the eye … Read More
‘Maguri-Motapung Beel’- an Important Bird Area (IBA) situated in the district of Tinsukia, Assam is a haven for both resident and migratory bird species. Every year birdwatchers from across the globe come to witness its rich avian diversity.
On 5th February 2016, we went birding at the ‘beel’ with the prime target of photographing the Critically Endangered (CR) Baer’s Pochard, which is a winter visitor to Assam Valley and lower parts of South Assam hills. At 1612hrs (after sighting the … Read More
A birding group that I was part of sighted the Spot-billed Pelican (Pelecanus philippensis) on 13th February 2016 at 6:35 PM during an evening boat ride at Kumbhargaon, Bhigwan, Maharashtra. The sun had just set, when we sighted a single Spot-billed Pelican circling in the sky. The Pelican circled around 4-5 times before it flew along the river and disappeared in to the horizon.
The other people with me were Bhavesh Rathod, Ranjan Pendharkar, Urvi Shah, Kavita Trivedi, Saumitra Newalkar, … Read More
At the last minute, on Sunday morning, I convinced 20 other birders that instead of going to Valley School, we should bird along the Kaggalipura-Bannerghatta stretch, and then go to check out Hulimangala. And there, at nearly the end of a long birding outing, we saw a migrant which has never before been sighted in the Bangalore area – the Demoiselle Crane. I have since got information that there were at least two individuals on the lake.
Demoiselle cranes undertake … Read More
The Black-breasted Parrotbill (Paradoxornis flavirostris) is one of India’s rarest, enigmatic and least-known birds. Till recently Debeshwari, in the Eastern Zone in Kaziranga, and Dibru-Saikhowa close to Tinsukia in N Assam were the only two places where the bird was found. However it seems that for the last few years the birds seem to have become extremely scare in these areas.
On 17th March 2011, birders Soma Jha and Sushmita Jha sighted this bird in Manas National Park … Read More
In the lowland areas of the Western Ghats of Goa and in the hilly tracts of Belgaum, it’s quite common to hear the tinkling 12 to 14-note ‘trick, trick’ chorus call from mud pools, paddy fields and local water bodies in the late evenings during the monsoon. Many of these are terrestrial frogs calling to attract females. These frogs belong to the amphibian genus Fejervarya of the family Dicroglossidae and are commonly known as either ‘cricket frogs’ or ‘fejervaryan frogs’. … Read More