Indian Birds #1

“Wherever there are birds, there is hope.” – Mehmet Murat Ildan

Ranking amongst top 10 most biodiverse countries (yeah, be proud of it and protect it), India is home to about 1211 species of birds of splendid variety, shapes, colors and equally diverse habits and habitats.

A comprehensive, well structured list of Indian birds can be found on Wikipedia at

Here are some observations without going too far or exclusive to find them, except a few. Bear with the poor quality of some pictures, I am basically a birder trying to learn photography both for its own charm and keeping records.

If you have any queries / suggestions / feedback – please leave them in the comments. Will revert.

Tailor Bird : Bamboo Fence and Lantana. Clicked at home. Saugor, MP, India 2013. Tailor birds stich leaves together to build their nest – that is why the name !
Red Wattled Lapwing (Titihiri in Hindi). Lays a clutch of 3-4 eggs on a shallow pit on the ground and there after defends the territory with a fierce force. Doesn’t hesitate in attacking even humans wandering too near its nest.
Yellow Wattled Lapwing: Not as common as its cousin Red Wattled Lapwing.
A male Paradise Flycatcher. Grow upto 50 cm tip to tail. Fully mature adult males turn white. In flight, the tail follows the bird like a ribbon in flow. Collects spider web to strengthen the nest.
Female Paradise Flycatcher. Does not have the long tail like male and stays in this colour throughout. Both parents share the parenting duties.
Male Indian Magpie Robin. Female is dull grey. One of the most common songster – very melodious calls. Common around human habitats.
Crimson Breasted Barbet aka Coppersmith. Named Coppersmith as its repetitive high pitch call notes are similar to a coppersmith striking metal with a hammer (tunk tunk tunk….). The female excavates a hole in the tree trunks / branches for making a nest.
Indian Roller / Neelkanth. Earlier name Blue Jay. Beautiful bird, specially in flight. Sadly, owing to mythology, many are captured during festive season of Dushhera as people consider it lucky to see one. Hence, they are caught and paraded for a fee outside temples. Most end up dead due to starvation. Rollers eat insects and their human captors try to feed them Rice / Roti.
Brown Fish Owl. 55 – 60 cm. A big owl, this one was sitting pretty in the shade over a stream flowing below. Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, Madhyapradesh. 2016.
A Collared Scops Owl. Mediun size. It took my wife and me more than an year to locate this beauty. We would hear its extremely soft call – a single ‘wut’ and wonder, what is it and where is it? Absolutely thrilled to discover it finally. Witnessed the pair raise a family of two chicks.
A Jungle Owlet. Common in India, found in habitats ranging from scrub forest to deciduous and moist deciduous forests. Active during dawn and dusk, known to bask in sunlight as seen here. Shot near Dharamsala, 2017.
Spotted Owlet. Smaller in size. One of the most common owlets found in the country. Commonly seen fluttering about and calling around the human habitats during the dusk. Notice the difference between the Jungle and Spotted Owlet.
Virditer Flycatcher. An exquisite, old world bird with unique colours and equally unique metallic calls. Female, slightly dull and displays some patterns too. Clicked in our house garden, Saugor, Madhya Pradesh.
Do NOT assume that this is a Virditer female. This looks similar, but is a different bird altogether. This is a Blue Rock Thrush.
An Indian Jungle Nightjar. Nocturnal, sleeping in a typical habitat during the day, blending in effortlessly with the branch below. Not easy to spot, especially during daylight hours due to their excellent camouflage pattern. Bandhavgarh, 2016.
Indian Skimmer. Lower mandible is bigger than upper, used to skim the water as the bird s flies low over the water. Classified as Endangered list by IIUCN. Clicked near Chambal River, South of Agra.
A Eurasian Spoonbill. Feeds by wading in shallow waters, moving its broad bill side ways, snapping it shut if any small fish, insect or crustacean comes in contact. Breeds in reed beds. Clicked on the banks of River Chambal, South of Agra. 2016.
A small Bee-Eater. Catches insects (specially bees) while on the wing, displaying swift maneuvers and acrobatics. Beats the insect dead on the branch / wire before swallowing it. Nests in shallow holes excavated in mud walls. Common in India.
Crimson Sunbird. A medium sized sunbird found in the Northern and NE parts of India. Spreads upto Indonesia. Female is dull olive-yellow overall with brighter underparts. Clicked in Palampur, HP, 2017.
A Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher (male). Female is less intensely coloured. Found all over India. Very pleasant calls (metallic clinks at times). Clicked in home garden. It visited regularly to drink from the water bowl. Saugor, Madhya Pradesh. 2014.
A Purple Sunbird (male). Female is dull brown in colour. Male turns Purple during breeding season. A commoner around gardens and human habitats. Found all across the country.
A Yellow Breasted Greenfinch (male). Female is duller in colours. Seen in pairs / flocks. Distributed along the Himalayan foothills in Northern to NE India. Clicked in Palampur, 2017.
A Common / Siberian Stonechat. Quite like European Stonechat. Clicked in Manali, Himachal Pradesh.
Special Mention : A male Shrike (left in the image) is feeding a cuckoo chick considering it as his own. Notice the chick has grown larger than its foster parents. We have all heard about cuckoos engaging in parasitic breeding i.e., they lay their eggs in other species nests. This is the evidence. For me personally, this was thrilling, I saw the (poor) Shrike pair constantly working to satisfy this chicks hunger, which is at least 3 times their size. Another interesting fact, different species of cuckoos, target different birds to raise their young. They all have different size / shapes / colours of the eggs which match their targets. Most cases, the cuckoo females, just toss out the host’s eggs and lay their own in hosts nests. You can see the unaware victim performing its parental duty in full earnst. I sometimes wonder that there is nothing un-natural in Nature (its all part of the game / circus called Life). PS – I wish I could remove that branch, but then the Shrike would have fallen down šŸ˜‰

Hope you liked the short exposure to our own natural heritage. I intend covering Indian Birds of Prey in a separate chapter – they definitely deserve a special post.

Happy birding !!

Jo Written by:


  1. Kaushal Jhala

    Amazing clicks n info for bird watchers/ lovers…..continue the good work Sudan?

    • 21/02/2021

      Dear Kaushal Sir,
      Thank you for the encouragement, as always.
      Glad you liked it.
      Best wishes.

  2. Rohit

    Lovely pictures and well curated, sir!

    • 22/02/2021

      Thank you Dear Rohit for all the help and guidance.

  3. Prithi

    Delighted to see you continuing with your good work. The photographs reflect the passion you bring to your interest and craft. Keep clicking away!

    • 22/02/2021

      Sir, thank you for stopping by. Patrons like you make the effort worth it.

  4. Himanshu

    Beautiful clicks sir.

    • 22/02/2021

      Thank you Himanshu. Glad you liked the pics.

  5. Ambika

    So true jo…. there is nothing un.. natural in nature .
    Stunning captures ? jewels from Madhya Pradesh
    Need a special compliment .????

    • 22/02/2021

      Thank you for stopping by, Ambika. Glad you liked some stuff.

  6. Rohit Gupta

    Amazing photographs. I loved the one on the shrike-cuckoo with write up. Yes, maternal/paternal instincts are found in nature far more advanced than in humans. The latter being adulterated by so-called societal norms.

    • 25/02/2021

      Thank you Sir – for stopping by and the encouragement šŸ™‚

  7. Divya Rathi

    I love how this is not just about or for the sake of the visuals/aesthetic (which are splendid, by the way). Iā€™m so drawn by how each picture has a story and is an insight into the lives of these beautiful beings. Iā€™m guilty of being very non-observant of nature. Your blog is full of little nuggets of learning for the likes of me! Thank you for sharing ?

    • 28/02/2021

      Hey Divya, Glad some parts resonated well with you. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a valuable comment.

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